By Chinedu Eze
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has directed Nigerian airlines, especially those operating international and regional destinations, to be vigilant in the screening of passengers before they are allowed to board flights to the country.
This is aimed at preventing travellers who have Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) from coming to Nigeria.
NCAA gave the directive in a circular with ref no. NCAA/DG/AMS/Vol.1/196, dated May 11, 2018 and dispatched to all operating airlines.
In the circular, the regulatory authority informed the domestic operators of the outbreak of EVD in the Democratic Republic of Congo on May 8, 2018.
NCAA noted, however, that the outbreak of EVD in DRC was yet to be declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC).
It said the agency, the Federal Ministry of Health and all other relevant agencies had taken concerted steps to ensure the virus did not enter into Nigeria
â€œPilots-in-Command of an aircraft are to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected case of communicable disease onboard their flight in line with Nig.CARs 184.108.40.206.
“In case of any suspected case of communicable disease on board an aircraft, aircrew are to fill the General Declaration (Gen Dec) and Public Health Passenger Locator forms in line with Nig.CARs 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 respectively.
“Completed General Declaration and Public Health Passenger Locator forms are to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) of the destination aerodrome,â€ NCAA instructed.
The authority directed airlines to ensure they had onboard valid and appropriate number of first aid kits, universal precaution kits and emergency medical kits in line with Nig. CARs 22.214.171.124.Â
The agency also directed airlines to refresh the knowledge of their crew members in the handling and communicating with ATC of any suspected case of communicable disease on board.
â€œAirlines are to contact Port Health Services for clearance before importing human remains into the country. Airlines are to report to the Authority in writing of any suspected case of communicable disease in flight, NCAA said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, and made available to THISDAY.Â