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Screening for Ebola

Ebola resurgence: Nigerian authorities advise airlines to exercise vigilance, step up surveillance

TRAVEL advisories and precautionary measures have been enacted all over Nigerian airports following the resurgence of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) once again.

World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in line with International Health Regulations (IHR) leading to further closing up on ranks with regards travels through the nations gateways.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) following this latest outbreak in a letter signed by its Director General has sent a directive to all airline operators, especially airlines operating regional and international flights into the country, to exercise a high level of vigilance.

In the letter, NCAA has 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 18.8.22.4.

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 18.8.17.4 and 18.8.22.5 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 7.9.1.11 and 7.9.1.12.

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 18.8.22.4.

The NCAA in the letter signed by GM Public Relations, Mr. Sam Adurogboye expects strict compliance and will collaborate with all relevant agencies to prevent the incursion of Ebola or any communicable disease into the country.

Meanwhile, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has stepped up efforts to ensure that the dreaded Ebola Disease Virus (EDV) does not find its way into the shores of Nigeria through its major gateways by reenacting its protocol with more sophisticated methods of tracking and detecting symptoms of the virus as passengers arrive the country.

Nigerianflightdeck.com who was at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) watched first-hand the screening of inbound passengers through collaborative efforts from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Port Health as well as other agencies.

The same screening process is said to be carried out across board simultaneously at Abuja and Kano, and is having maximum impact in tracking passengers and quarantine then for secondary observation.

The process is made seamless with the availability of thermal cameras which government has put in place in 2017 to enable it identify and monitor passengers in case there is a spike in the temperature registered on the screen.

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Nigerianflightdeck is an online news and magazine platform reporting business stories with a bias for aviation and travel. It is borne out of the intention to inform, educate as well as alter perceptions with balanced reportage.

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