Legal setting for prevention, control and elimination of communicable diseases
In a densely populated country like Bangladesh, tackling communicable diseases is crucial. An enormous segment of the populace is indigent, illiterate and also not thoughtful about health affairs. Thus, any sort of communicable disease can effortlessly flare expeditiously turning into an epidemic.
In case of the medication for contagious diseases, the role of medical professionals is eminent for the cure. However, we need some legal instruments which will bind the authority or personnel in charge to prevent, control and eliminate the infectious disease.
In our country, we have a statute namely Infectious Disease (Prevention, Control and Elimination) Act, 2018. Also, necessary adaptation is needed to be taken in consonance with the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Health Regulation. There are fundamentals in the Statute which we ought to know that by whom or how we are going to get privilege through the Statute and how far it is flawless.
According to the Statute, the duties and functions will be conducted by the Health Ministry which is subject to the general or special powers of the Government. They shall take integrated commencement counting formulation of strategies to prevent, control and eradicate communicable diseases and safeguard humankind from its national or international escalation acquiring collaboration from public, private, domestic or international organizations.
In the case of public health emergencies and health risks, the Ministry shall intensify alertness and prevent and control such diseases. Over and above, methodize physical and laboratory examination for the infected person, if necessary provide antibiotics, vaccination or medications.
A noteworthy outline has been stated in Section 5, to prevent the outreach of infectious diseases, the Ministry may declare any market, mass congregation, station, airport and any port to be closed briefly. Again arrival, departure or movements through aeroplane, ship, bus, train or any other vehicles can be obstructed pro tempore.
Now there has been an instruction given under Section 5, in the case of information the person contaminated with contagious diseases, to inform such information to the Ministry. Besides, in Section 10, there is the direction for the doctor, treating any infected patient, to notify the concerned civil surgeon if such patient dies and the existence of the disease becomes an alert in such premises or area. In addition, if a boarding, residential or temporary residence owner or person in charge has reason to believe that a person living in the place has been infected, he shall promptly notify the concerned Civil Surgeon and the Deputy Commissioner.
Essentially the preventive measures and any directions or the duties and functions of the authorities or persons in charge are outlined based on the communicable diseases which are already in existence or after its appearance in the country. However, there is no such distinctive provision on how to confront the infectious diseases which may not be in existence but we might have to encounter if such contagion invades in our country.
Furthermore, it is stated under Section 13 that if an authorized officer has reason to believe that the substance used by a contagious person remains infected then he may in the manner prescribed by the rules, purify or destroy those and under Section 18 if it is an infected vehicle then direct the owner for purification in the manner prescribed by rules. Even under Section 14. the authorized official has also the authority to transfer to other place or isolate such infected person temporarily, in the manner prescribed by rules, if he has reason to believe that through the patient others might be affected.
Again in accordance with Section 14, if the empowered officer transfer or isolate the infected person then exactly in which sort of place he would be going to send or whether we have any such kind of place in existence, such contentions are opaque.
The contraventions asserted by the globalization of contagious diseases in a reciprocated world are scrutinized and it expostulates that in the deficiency of sanctions there is an extent of elements which might impel nation-states to comply with international laws and regulations on the transboundary escalation of rising communicable diseases.
To this extent, as per Article 32 of the Constitution of Bangladesh, the State secures the protection of the right to life and personal liberties save in accordance with the law. Thus we obtain an independent statute concerning communicable diseases constraining the State to protect the citizens from the gruesomeness of such diseases.
Jobaira Nasrin Khan is pursuing LL.M. at Eastern University