ICAO Commends Nigeria on Preventing Ebola

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has commended Nigeria for preventing Ebola Virus Disease from spreading in the country when the Liberian, the late Patrick Sawyer arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos with the disease.

This was made known by the head of the team of the programme, the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA), Mr. Micheil Vredeenburgh during a two-day visit to inspect the health facilities and train health personnel at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

They said Nigeria’s effort was a clear indication that the country was making progress in the implementation of the WHO International Health Regulations at her points of entry.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ebola was first reported in Nigeria in July 2014 when a Liberia-American man, Patrick Sawyer, tested positive to the virus after arriving in the country through the MMIA, Lagos.

Twenty persons contacted the virus while eight casualties were recorded before Nigeria eventually overcame the problem and the WHO declared Nigeria Ebola-free on October 20, 2014.

Michael Vreedenburgh, CAPSCA Programme Global Coordinator at the ICAO Headquarters, said the people and government of Nigeria must be given credit for the successful containment of the virus.

Vreedenburgh said the voluntary technical visit was a follow up to CAPSCA’s visits to the country in 2009 and 2011.

According to him, the aim of the visit is to assess the preparedness of the aviation sector, taking into account the priorities established by the WHO to contain outbreak of communicable diseases.

He said:

“Public health remains an area of great concern because outbreaks can occur for any reason, anywhere and at anytime.

“In addition, the visit will promote and facilitate communication, cooperation, coordination and collaboration between the public health sectors in the handling of public health event.”

In his remark, Dr. Harry Opata, Disease Surveillance Response, WHO/Africa Regional Office, said the organisation was keen for countries to implement its international health regulations which came into effect in 2007.

Opata said:

“I would like to congratulate Nigeria for the quick containment of the Ebola Virus Disease last year.”