The Airport Health Organization came into existence in pursuance of The Aircraft (Public Health) Rules, 1954 framed under the Aircraft Act, 1934. The Airport Health Organization, Hyderabad primarily is a Public Health Organization. It is located at Shamshabad, RGI, Hyderabad-501218. An Airport Health Officer (APHO) works under the overall control of the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Govt.of India, stationed at the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi. The DGHS in turn is assisted by DDG (IH) and ADG (IH).
The Primary objective of this organization is to prevent International Spread of Diseases from one country to another as per International Health Regulations of World Health Organization. This is achieved by Implementation of Following Acts/ Rules:-
- The Epidemic Disease Act.
- The Indian aircraft Act, 1934.
- IHR (2005).
- The Indian Aircraft (Public Health) Rules 1954.
- Food standards and safety authority of India Act, 2006.
Activities performed at APHO Hyderabad
- Surveillance of International Passengers and Crew for yellow fever disease: As per the standard procedure all the incoming international passengers of all International flights are screened by the immigration officials for history of travel to yellow fever endemic countries within last 6 days of arriving in India. Thereafter all the passengers who have embarked from or have transited through the yellow fever endemic countries are screened for having proper protection against yellow fever.
- Quarantine of Passengers: All those passengers, who have embarked from or have transited through yellow fever endemic countries during 6 days prior to arriving in India and they are not having proper vaccination against yellow fever, are quarantined as per the Indian aircraft (Public Health) Rules, 1955. During the period of quarantine the passengers are medically observed for various signs and symptoms of yellow fever disease.
- Polio Vaccination: It is a International vaccination centre for Polio vaccination. APHO, Hyderabad provides vaccinations to all the international passengers who have arrived in India from Polio endemic countries and are not having vaccination certificate.
- Public Health Clearance of Dead Body / Human Remains: As in accordance with “THE AIRCRAFT (PUBLIC HEALTH) RULES, 1954 PART 4” Officials of Airport Health Organization after checking the necessary documents in order to check the spread of any communicable disease of International concern in this country.
- VVIP Food Safety and Surveillance Duties:
VVIP food surveillance duties are one of the prime responsibilities of APHO, Hyderabad at the Telangana capital. Food Surveillance activities are undertaken for both national and International Heads of States. Food surveillance activities are undertaken for visits of National VVIPs (Inside country and International visits) and International VIPs at the time of their visits to the state capital. International Flights and Domestic flights were undertaken for the VVIP. During the time of International visits procedure adopted for surveillance of food is planned in the coordination meeting with PM security staff. Various activities are as follows:
- Sampling of the raw materials from the designated flight kitchen Stores.
- Sampling of Water from various areas of designated flight kitchen.
- Examination of the Perishable food items.
- Sampling and oral testing of prepared food items for instant poison.
- Results of raw material and water samples collected are communicated to the respective flight kitchen before cooking process starts for the VIP flight.
- Surveillance of the Food Outlets: As per the FSS Act-2006; APHO Hyderabad, Local Health Authority under takes inspection of food outlets operating in the airport premises regularly. Lounges, snack counters and restaurants of establishments, who have contracts for serving food and drinks to the passengers and staff at international airport.
- Medical and Flight Emergencies: A.P.H.O. doctors and paramedics are one of the designated health agency for the purpose of assisting during the time of various flight emergencies and is kept on vigil during the time of all minor/Full emergencies. GHIAL has contracted the Medical unit of Apollo Medical Services for providing emergency medical services for the passengers and the staff deployed at airport. Medical Unit at airport also arranges ambulance services at the airport for sick travelers.
- Activities related to vector, food and water:
- Vector Surveillance: Vector control activities primarily for Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is vector of yellow fever disease, is undertaken by gulf Pest Control Services under GHIAL. APHO staff with the assistance from National vector borne disease control program undertakes periodic monitoring of the vector control activities to ensure that aedes aegypti index is regularly maintained as per the prescribed international norms. National Vector Borne Disease Control Program, Delhi undertakes independent surveys very quarter. On the basis of the monitoring by NVBDCP feedback is given to GHIAL for taking appropriate vector control measures.
- Flight Dis-insection: surveillance of the aircraft disinfection details is undertaken for all the incoming international aircraft by examination of the General Declaration of Health and passenger manifest submitted by the Crew at the time of arrival to the Airport Health Organization.
- Sanitary Inspection: International Health Regulations (World Health Organization) requires regular Sanitary Inspection in and around airport premises. Accordingly International Health Organization undertakes periodic sanitary inspection rounds at Terminal. Sanitary inspectors also assist in Vector surveillance, sanitary inspection of the Food outlets, and drinking water sampling for bacteriological testing by designated laboratory in Hyderabad, for periodic surveillance of drinking water sources. Details were communicated to airport officials for undertaking appropriate measures.
- Immigration Officials: As per the GOI instructions surveillance activities are undertaken primarily by the Immigration officials and then suspects are referred to the APHO, official. Periodic training to the Immigration officials is imparted to orient them about various steps for screening the passengers with regard to Polio, Yellow fever, Ebola and other PHEICs.
- Training for Medical and para-medical staff: Training activities are being arranged for medical and para-medical staff i.e. field workers training, vector surveillance training, Haj Training etc.
Medical & Flight Emergencies –The APHOs are Public Health Organization and perform the public health related activities at the Airport. Every International Airport has health unit to take care any clinical emergency occurring on board to the passengers or to the staff working at the Airport. In case the emergency is having large number of affected persons then the APHO works along with other control room officers and coordinate with other Government Health facilities for transportation and management of the health services needy persons.
Public Health Emergency of International Importance-Activities during the Public Health Emergencies Out Break e.g. Ebola Virus Disease, Yellow Fever Disease, MERS-CoV & Zika Virus Disease
- Activation of PHECP
- Coordination with other stakeholders.
- Functions as per guidelines for PHEIC.
- Training of stake holders.
- Procurement and Deployment of additional manpower.
- Procurement of material required.
- Screening/ Quarantine/ Isolation/ Lab testing/ Transportation/ Contact tracing.
- Coordination with National/state/local agencies.