Ebola: NCAA raises alarm, issues warning to airlines

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has directed all airlines operating regional and international flights, to exercise a high level of vigilance to prevent incursion of Ebola virus into the country.

This, it said was in line with International Health Regulations (IHR).

NCAA General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye in a statement on Tuesday, said the warning followed resurgence of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Adurogboye said the directive was contained in a letter signed by NCAA Director-General, Capt. Muhtar Usman, and had 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

“In case of a suspected case of communicable disease onboard an aircraft, aircrew are required to fill the General Declaration (Gen Dec) and Public Health Passenger Locator forms in line with Nig.CARs and 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 onboard valid and appropriate number of First Aid kits, Universal Precaution Kits (UPKs) and Emergency Medical kits in line with Nig.CARS and,” he said.

Adurogboye said airlines were 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.

He said 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.

According to Adurogboye, airlines are to report to NCAA in writing any suspected case of communicable disease onboard any flight.

He said similarly, ATC should immediately communicate to PHS any report of a suspected case of communicable disease on board aircraft in line with Nig. CARs

Adurogboye said the authority expected strict compliance and would collaborate with all relevant agencies to prevent the incursion of Ebola or any communicable disease into the country.