Ebola: NCAA warns Airline operators to be on the alert

All airline operators, specifically international and regional operators have been directed by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to guard against the resurgence of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country. The disease is currently ravaging the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This directive is in line with the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Ebola as a Public Health Emergency of international proportion, which has created widespread panic. The declaration is in line with International Health Regulation, according to reports.

According to Sam Adurogboye, the General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, the directive was contained in a letter signed by the Director-General, Captain Muhtar Usman, and circulated to all airline operators.

The statement gave instructions on what to do in case any passenger is suspected of Ebola. Aircrew are to do the following “in case of a suspected case of the communicable disease on board an aircraft”:

  • fill the General Declaration and Public Health Passenger Locator forms in line with Nig.CARs 18.8.17.4 and 18.8.22.5 respectively; and
  • drop the completed form at the Health Services Port of the aircraft’s destination.

Extra precaution: In the same directive, the agency told airline operators to ensure they have Emergency Medical kits, First Aid Kits and Universal Precaution Kits in consonance with Nig.CARS 7.9.1.11 and 7.9.1.11.

This extra precaution method is to help update the knowledge of crew members on better ways to deal with communicable diseases either contracted by them or their passengers.

What this means Passengers in Nigeria will now face scrutiny on every journey they embark on to foreign countries, especially countries located in Sub-Saharan Africa like Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, alongside DRC Congo, doused with higher levels of quarantine and suspicion for any suspected passenger.

A silverliningNew reports have shown that scientists are closer to finding a permanent cure to the deadly ravaging fever after carrying out an experiment on two drugs which showed survival rates of as much as 90% in a clinical trial in Congo.

These experimental drugs contain an antibody labeled as EGN-EB3 developed by Regeneron and a monoclonal antibody called mAb114. The drugs are expected to be offered to all patients infected with the disease in an ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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