The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued warning to airlines over the resurgence of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). This followed the World Health Organization (WHO’s) declaration of Ebola outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Consequently, the NCAA directed all operators, especially airlines operating regional and international flights into the country, to exercise a high level of vigilance. Spokesman of the NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye said the directive was contained in a letter signed by the NCAA Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman to all airline operators. In the letter, NCAA directed airlines’ Pilots in Command (PIC) to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected case of communicable disease on board their flight in line with Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 18.104.22.168).
The NCAA explained that 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 as required by the regulations. Thereafter, completed forms are to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) of the destination aerodrome, NCAA said.
The authority also directed operators to contact Port Health Services for clearance before importing human remains into the country in the event of death of a patient. “Airlines are to report to NCAA in writing any suspected case of communicable disease on board any flight,” the NCAA said. Airlines were also advised 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 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199.”
They were also required 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. The authority said the ATCs 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 188.8.131.52. The NCAA said it expects strict compliance with the directives, adding it will collaborate with all relevant agencies to prevent the incursion of Ebola or any communicable disease into the country.