By Suleiman Idris
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday advised airlines, especially those operating regional and international flights into the Nigeria on the need to exercise a high level of vigilance following the resurgence of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Global body, 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. Usman Muhtar which has been dispatched to all airline operators.
The document 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 220.127.116.11.
“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 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 respectively.” It said in parts.
“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 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.”
Furthermore, the authority urged airlines 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.”
It said, “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 184.108.40.206.
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 warned.