Ebola: NCAA Demands Vigilance from Airlines

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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 reference number: 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 DR Congo is yet to be declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC).

But the agency, the Federal Ministry of Health and all other relevant agencies have taken concerted steps to ensure the virus does not enter into Nigeria
“Pilots-in-Command of aircraft are to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected case of communicable disease onboard their flight in line with Nig.CARs 18.8.22.4.

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 18.8.17.4 and 18.8.22.5 respectively.
Completed General Declaration and Public Health Passenger Locator forms are to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) of the destination aerodrome,” NCAA instructed.

The authority also directed that airlines are to ensure they have onboard valid and appropriate number of first aid kits, universal precaution kits and emergency medical kits in line with Nig. CARs 7.9.1.12.
The agency also directed that airlines are to refresh the knowledge of their crew members in the handling and communicating with ATC of any suspected case of communicable disease on board.

“Airlines 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.

NCAA said it would continue to collaborate with all relevant agencies to ensure that the Public Health Emergency Contingency Plan (PHECP) developed for the guidance of aviation stakeholders are adhered to. This will prevent the importation of any communicable disease into the country through our air borders (airports).