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Ebola screening at the airports could not be as effective at it appears a study released in a recent report on potential for Ebola spread by commercial air travel revealed.

Ebola screening at the airports could not be as effective at it appears a study released in a recent report on potential for Ebola spread by commercial air travel revealed.

Control measures for the disease on several occasions require passengers to be screened as they exit the country. There are only three points at which you would need to perform the tests-the airports that serve the capital cities of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. This would mean that between September and December 2013, about 144,798 passengers would have been screened.

The second option is to screen those same passengers on direct flights out of the three affected countries when they land at their destinations, which would be airports at one of 15 cities across 15 different countries under what is called entry screening.

Many airports where screening is done would be required to go up from 15 to 1,238 and the number of passengers that would need to be screened rises to nearly 363 million.

Secondly, because the incubation period for Ebola is about nine days, symptoms would not be detected since the average flight out of one the three West African countries is about six hours.

This is why Dr Craig Spencer – the doctor who tested positive for Ebola in New York on October 23 – was screened at JFK airport on his return from Guinea on October 17, but he wasn’t picked up because he wasn’t showing symptoms at the time.

For the same reason, airport tests may not have identified the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the US in the current outbreak either. Thomas Eric Duncan had travelled from Liberia to Dallas where he died.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by the government titled, “Cost of hunger study in Rwanda: Child Under-nutrition in Rwanda, Implications for Achieving Vision 2020,” revealed that fighting underweight due to malnutrition costs the country Rwf65 million per year.

Families contribute 74 per cent to this burden. Because of malnutrition, 327,500 children repeat a class and 13 per cent of this is associated with stunting, yet the nation spends Rwf2.4 billion on education annually.

Assuming 49 per cent of the adult population working had suffered from chronic malnutrition an estimated GDP loss of 9.4 per cent among the working age was estimated for the population in 2012.

And still Rwanda loses 11.5 per cent of her Gross Domestic Product as a result of malnutrition.

According to researchers, if there were a 26 per cent reduction in stunting, the cost would go down and the country would save an estimated $14 million every year.

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