KATHMANDU: The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) is planning to adopt a series of measures to combat the potential risk of Influenza A (H1N1) virus after the World Health Organisation declared flu outbreak a global pandemic.

Speaking to this daily on Friday, Dr Senendra Raj Upreti, director at the EDC, said they were planning to set up health desks at different border points to screen visitors entering and leaving the country. “But the lack of needful infrastructure and trained hands for the purpose have become a big hurdle for us,” he added. Dr Upreti also informed that the EDCD had recently set up a lab at the National Public Health Laboratory to test the H1N1 virus.

“We are in high alert and at regular touch with regional epidemiology offices throughout the country,” Dr Upreti added. He also said that the medicines and promotional materials would be dispatched to the regional and district hospitals soon. Dr Upreti further informed that they

would hold talks with different divisions under the Department

of Health Services, hospitals and other concerned to combat the potential risk of swine flu.

“We recently held discussions with referral hospitals in order to ensure adequate preparedness for possible cases. We are also planning to

hold meeting with private hospitals for more preparedness and to seek their help in coping with the pandemic,” he added.

Dr Upreti further informed that the the EDCD and the Avian Influenza Control Project (AICP) had intensified the surveillance activities at all Early Warning and Response Systems sites and had alerted the district, regional and central Rapid Response Teams.

Manas Banerjee, director of AICP, said that they had enough budget to combat the possible risk. “But it is a sensitive issue and there should be cooperation between various countries,” Dr Banerjee said. He further informed that the screening at the border areas would target foreigners and Indian nationals living in the other side of the border.

Dr Banerjee also said effective cooridnation among four ministries — Home, Finance, Agriculture and Health and Population — to combat the spread of the disease.