NCAA calls for strict compliance on Ebola surveillance

Ijeoma Nwankpa, Abuja

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The Nigerian government through the Ministry of Health has set up a surveillance centre at international airports across the country as a result of the Ebola crisis in DR Congo.

The directive is for the screening of passengers arriving into the country and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, is meant to ensure strict compliance to the directive.

The Spokesman of NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye says the directive was to ensure Nigeria remains an Ebola Free nation.

Mr. Adurogboye also told Voice of Nigeria that the agency would ensure that airports carry out detailed checks on airlines operating from endemic countries to protect Nigerians and all travellers.

According to the spokesman, all agencies of aviation were notified on the issue.

“That would be strange, because a letter was written by NCAA and sent to the Director General as well was delivered at the head quarters of all the airlines. So that would be strange for any airline to say they have not received it, maybe you talked to a pilot that has not been briefed, I wouldn’t know but certainly the letter has gone out to all not just airlines even the stakeholders like FAAN, Federal Airport Authority, NAMA and every other stakeholders, the handlers, this letter has gone to them and they were all signed for.”

According to him, “Nigeria has  a consumer protection unit at the major airports, major gateways, that  runs a 24 hour operation from Monday to Sunday and there are also inspectors in the air wanderers, the flight operations they are at the airport, they also conduct what we call the random checks so that is how we do our monitoring, but having said that, the system to check for anybody that is infected with communicable disease has been on already, what we have done is just remind ourselves and sensitize the members of the public as well on the dangers of the disease and to be on a high alert.”

Mr. Adurogboye said that the airlines are so far complying with the directive.

“The directive is majorly to the international operators because this is a disease that has been established to be in another county, so the idea now is for those who run the international and inter-regional operators to be  more aware and on alert,  so that they would not bring in someone that has been infected into the country. It has been established that Ebola is  not in Nigeria ,but we are talking about our focus ,those who operate international  operation or inter-regional on continental not to bring in such infected person that is exactly the target.”

Mr. Adurogboye, however advised everyone to be at alert and report quickly any suspected symptoms cases to the health authorities stressing that no cure has been found yet but the vaccination is still on trial like a death sentences that is why everybody has to be alert.