According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 3,400 people have died from the Ebola virus in West Africa, making the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the largest and deadliest Ebola outbreak our world has ever seen.
Ebola has proven to be a very difficult disease to contain because symptoms do not appear until 8-10 days after exposure to the virus, and even if caught early, there is no specific treatment or vaccine.
Over the past few months, Securiport, a global leader in biometric immigration control systems, has been at the front lines supporting the fight against the Ebola virus in West Africa by providing advanced biometric screening technologies along with comprehensive contact tracing data analytics and risk assessment in order to more effectively monitor and control the spread of the virus, mitigate health risks and decrease the economic impact.
Since the first patients were diagnosed with Ebola, the world has been watching in fear, praying this deadly disease would not reach their country. Airlines have grounded all flights flying to and from the affected areas in fear of traveling with an infected passenger and inadvertently spreading the virus. The governments in West Africa are simply not equipped with the necessary resources and infrastructure to respond to and control this outbreak. And there are no systems in place to effectively monitor the flow of people crossing borders or to track what and whom they’ve come into contact with.
Securiport’s primary mission and purpose is to improve international passenger safety traveling via airports. Securiport ultimately hopes to make a difference by providing immigration control systems and features such as advanced biometric screening, risk assessment and contact tracing to airports in West African countries where Ebola has been rampant. The ultimate goal is to provide governments with necessary data and insights to monitor the flow of travellers so governments are empowered to take action to control the spread of the virus and to restore a sense of safety and security to governments and their civilians. Currently, Securiport’s immigration control systems are operational in Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Equatorial Guinea, with new implementations in Liberia and Guinea pending activation.
In order to accomplish this task, Securiport has partnered and coordinated efforts with numerous world and humanitarian organisations such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for the purpose of deploying the Epidemic Control System (ECS), a proprietary software that, working in tandem with the immigration systems, helps in tracking passengers who have recently been in or near the affected regions.
Securiport has also been working to coordinate and guarantee contact tracing of passengers traveling around or near the affected countries. Part of the solution to controlling and suppressing this outbreak is to conduct risk assessment and contact tracing. Knowing where a passenger has been, where they are going or what and whom they’ve come into contact with can be vital information to help control the virus from spreading.
Further, governments in the area have experienced a considerable negative economic impact as the epidemic has worsened. “The overall impact of Ebola is two fold,” says Anibal M. Cheble, General Manager at Securiport Sierra Leone. “There’s the obvious humanitarian aspect, and then there is the economic aspect. This being a spreading epidemic, people are afraid. Which leads to isolation, workplaces closing, disruption in transportation systems and ultimately panics governments and businesses into closing airports and seaports.”
If efforts are not immediately ramped up to contain the virus, the epidemic could cost Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone an upwards of $809 million combined. These countries have been devastated by deaths, costs of containing the virus, restrictions on international travel, the closing of markets and the disruption of farming activities due to the Ebola outbreak.
In order to limit the human costs and economic impacts of the Ebola virus, Securiport is continuing to provide and strengthen the infrastructure and security capabilities at West African countries’ international transportation links.
Securiport is an essential force in the fight against infectious diseases by providing governments and health organisations with the information they need to control the virus.
For more info, please contact Securiport online: http://www.securiport.com/Contact, or call Megan Gallagher, Director of
Communications at +1 (202) 333-0159.