SLCAA launches Airport Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan

Wednesday 24th July, 2019

The Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, and Ministry of Health and Sanitation has launched the Airport Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.

The plan aimed at preparing and maintaining the capacity to respond to public health events by preventing the introduction, transmission or spread of communicable diseases at the Freetown International Airport.

Representing the SLCAA, the Deputy Director-General (Technical) Mrs. Fatu Maria Conteh observed that the SLCAA was not only concerned about the safety and security of the traveling public, but was willing to comply fully with all other connections and treaties that support civil aviation growth. 

“We were taken by surprise when Ebola struck in 2014, and we are aware of its devastating effect on our country especially the travelling public. Therefore, we cannot allow it to happen again; hence, the SLCAA has provided the requisite support for all stakeholders involved in the development of this plan,” she said.

Launching the Plan, the Minister of Transport and Aviation Hon. Kabineh Kallon recalled the Government of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the World Health Organization issued a global alert for the occurrence of EBOLA in May 2014, the collaborative effort of the  SLCAA, Ministry of Transport and Aviation, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and some international partners like WHO, IOM, CDC-USA and other local NGOs, implemented series of measures to contain the spread of the virus and with those measures no case of Ebola was exported overseas through the country’s air border.

“As WHO declared Sierra Leone Ebola free, there was the urgent need to develop and maintain an Airport Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan that is generic and compliant with International Health Regulation (2005) and the ICAO Annex 9 requirements. Today, I can proudly say as a State we have one,” he said.

The Country Representative of International Organization for Migration, Alhaji Sanusi Savage said IOM in support with SLCAA and other organizations implemented entry and exit health screening measures at the FNA which lower risk for the international spread of Ebola by identifying travelers who might be infected and prohibiting their further travel.

Representing the Ministry of Health, Rev. Canon Dr. Thomas Samba noted the call to have an airport health response plan was deliberate to remind actors that public health threats were part of their lives, adding further that the plan was a clarion call for multi-sector approach to health service delivery.