Ebola: NCAA outlines role of airlines, other first respondents

NCAA

Daniel Omo

.calls for increased vigilance

AS the dreaded Ebola Virus has reared its ugly head again, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has charged airlines to maintain a high level of vigilance, especially those operating international and regional flights into the country.

This is just as it has directed Pilots-in-Command of an aircraft to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected case of communicable disease onboard their flight among other means of tracking suspected cases of the health issue.

This was contained in a circular with ref no. NCAA/DG/AMS/Vol.1/196, dated 11th May, 2018, dispatched to all operating airlines.

In the circular, all airlines were informed of the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 8th May, 2018.

However, the outbreak of EVD in DRC is yet to be declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC).

Notwithstanding, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Ministry of Health and all other relevant agencies have been taken concerted steps to ensure the virus does not creep into Nigeria.

Therefore to forestall the EVD infiltration, the Regulatory Authority has therefore directed all airlines to carry out these measures in the interim.

Pilots-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 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.

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.

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.

The circular signed by the Director General has since been sent to all the airlines.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will 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).

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