English | Dzongkha Thursday, November 21, 2019

Paro airport’s first public health emergency preparedness simulation exercise held


Nov 7, 2019

To test the preparedness of the stakeholders in an event of a public health emergency, the first simulation exercise was held at the Paro International Airport yesterday. The exercise was carried out as per the airport’s public health contingency plan developed to prevent the import of infectious disease into Bhutan

The simulation exercise was held to identify possible scenario at the airport and testing the strength of responses to the threat. The agencies involved conducted a risk assessment, case management, and passenger information gathering and notifying the relevant parties.

After the exercise, the stakeholders say there is a need for better coordination and communication amongst themselves.

“We wanted to see how the plans bring all the stakeholders together to work when you actually have a case imported in the country through aircraft. So that’s the whole purpose of the simulation exercise. To see where we actually stand better prepared to face the public health emergency of international concern. We wanted to test the mechanisms and coordination, other communication channels that they might have set in the plan and to see how it works,” Kinley Dorji, the Chief Program Officer of Department of Medical Services, said.

The emergence of infectious diseases such as Ebola Virus, H1N1, Respiratory Syndrome, Nipah Virus is considered a major public health emergency worldwide. Though there is no record of imported cases of these viruses, Bhutan according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) has a higher risk of getting affected by infectious diseases outbreak at the Paro International Airport.

“It is always better to contain the diseases and viruses at the source through proper screening and quarantine measures. Once we have an imported case in our country we have limited capacity in dealing with this, it is best in the interest of the general public to screen these diseases at the point of contact that is Paro International Airport,” Kinley Dorji said.

The public health emergency plan for Airport was developed in 2016.

Sangay Chezom

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