Posted by Sade Williams
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has directed all operators, especially airlines operating regional and international flights into the country, to exercise a high level of vigilance over a fresh break out of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The NCAA directive is consequent upon a declaration by the World Health Organisation saying that, “In the resurgence of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in line with International Health Regulations (IHR)”.
The directive was contained in a letter signed by the NCAA Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman, and has since been sent to all airline operators.
In the letter, NCAA directed that airlines’ Pilots in Command (PIC) of aircraft are to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected case of communicable disease on board their flight in line with Nig.CARs 18.104.22.168.
In case of a suspected case of communicable disease on board an aircraft, aircrew are required to fill the General Declaration (Gen Dec) and Public Health Passenger Locator forms in line with Nig.CARs 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 respectively.
Thereafter, completed forms are to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) of the destination aerodrome.
In addition, airlines are to ensure they have on board valid and appropriate number of First Aid kits, Universal Precaution Kits (UPKs) and Emergency Medical kits in line with Nig.CARS 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206.
NCAA spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, added in a statement that airlines are to refresh the knowledge of their Crew members (flight deck and cabin crew) for improved and sustained proficiency in handling and communication with ATC of any suspected case of communicable disease on board.
“In case of death to a patient, operating airlines should endeavour to contact Port Health Services for clearance before importing human remains into the country. Airlines are to report to NCAA in writing any suspected case of communicable disease on board any flight.
“Similarly, the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) shall immediately communicate to Port Health Services (PHS) any report of a suspected case of communicable disease on board aircraft in line with Nig. CARs 220.127.116.11.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) expects strict compliance and will collaborate with all relevant agencies to prevent the incursion of Ebola or any communicable disease into the country”, it added.