Document Type : Short Communication
Directorate of Central Health Establishment, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Islamabad, Pakistan
Airport Health Establishment, Islamabad, Pakistan
Federal Disease Surveillance Unit, National Institute of Health, Islamabad, Pakistan
Introduction: Points of entry (POE) in Pakistan serve as key conduits for international travel, transport, and trade. Central Health Establishment (CHE) is a key stakeholder in the implementation of the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR) core capacities at POE and National Action Plan 2020 against COVID-19. A comprehensive screening plan for COVID-19 was carried out effectively despite limitations.
Methods: A descriptive study on CDC guidelines for health screening at POE was conducted from February 2020 to March 2021. Guidelines are based on 11 attributes to be implemented; these include legal and regulatory bodies to detain the travelers as suspect, isolate, and coordinate at POEs, funds for screening, well-equipped quarantine facilities, referral health care facilities, protocols for primary and secondary screening, capacity building, supply of personal protective equipment and screening tools, and provision of basic facilities at isolation areas. Data were collected using both qualitative and quantitative methods from health officers and quarantine assistants of PoEs. The analysis of CHE’s information system was performed to assess the management of traveler surveillance.
Results: Eleven attributes were addressed for health screening according to CDC guidelines and well implemented at POE by CHE under the flagship of the MNHR&C. Primary health screening of 4,088,119 inbound travelers was conducted. Secondary health screening led to the referral of performed at airports for inbound travelers, with a positivity rate of 0.32.
Conclusion: Preparedness and response for COVID-19 at POE are in line with the National Action Plan of the Government of Pakistan and IHR (2005).