Following the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Democratic Republic of Congo last week, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has directed all pilots flying within and into the country to report any form of communicable disease onboard their flights to Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) on duty.
Ebola virus falls in the class of communicable diseases.
A statement signed by the Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, said the report of this to ATC would help curb the spread of the deadly disease, which has killed about a dozen of people in the Central African country.
Usman tasked the airline operators to be vigilant in the course of airlifting passengers, especially those operating international and regional flights into the country.
He reiterated that in case of any suspected case of communicable disease on board an aircraft, aircrew are 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.
The NCAA boss said that the Completed General Declaration and Public Health Passenger Locator forms are to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) of the destination aerodrome by the pilot in command.
He said that although the World Health Organisation (WHO), as a Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC), was yet to declare the outbreak in the country, NCAA and other relevant agencies would not take chances.
"Notwithstanding, the NCAA, Federal Ministry of Health and all other relevant agencies have been taken concerted steps to ensure the virus does not creep into Nigeria. Therefore to forestall the EVD infiltration, the regulatory authority has therefore directed all airlines to carry out these measures in the interim.
"Pilots-in-Command of an aircraft are to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected case of communicable disease onboard their flight in line with Nig.CARs 126.96.36.199."
He added that airlines should ensure they have onboard valid and appropriate number of first-aid kits, universal precaution kits and emergency medical kits in line with Nig. CARs 188.8.131.52.
He urged operators to refresh the knowledge of their crew members about the handling and communicating with ATC of any suspected case of communicable disease on board and contact Port Health Services for clearance before importing human remains into the country.
The operators, he emphasised, are to report to the agency in writing of any suspected case of communicable disease in flight.