Dr NK Ganguly, former director general, Indian Council for Medical Research
■ What can India learn from the outcomes of the recent Ebola outbreak?
The key take-home messages for India is to have International health safety standards because we have to take into account the fact that people are travelling all over the globe and hence any outbreaks occurring anywhere in the world, there will be safety concerns for India. Safety concerns in India had been raised during the SARS outbreak, H5N1,H1N1, NIPA outbreak as well as during the Congo haemorrhagic fever and Chikungunya outbreaks. Hence we have to be prepared always for any emergency response so that we do not become paralyzed when such an eventuality comes.
■ How do you look at India's outbreak management?
The outbreaks which we have talked of before, many of them are of zoonotic nature spreading from domesticated animals to humans or have originated from wild animals from forests through human cycles. India has a system of Intra-sectoral expert groups which were setup particularly during H5N1 for management of outbreaks, in which secretaries and officials from Ministry of Health, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (AH&D), Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Transportation all meet together to deal with the health situation and formulate a response.
■ Will India be able to cope with an outbreak of such large magnitude?