SLCAA Organises Public Health Emergency Stakeholders Workshop at FNA

Friday 14th February 2020

Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority Aviation (SLCAA) has organised Public Health Emergency (PHE)
Stakeholders workshop to assist the air transport sector on the level of preparedness for the prevention
of Coronavirus at the Freetown International Airport (FNA).

The one-day workshop, which was facilitated by a joint-team from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority
(NCAA), World Health Organisation (WHO), and Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), is part of the
awareness-raising drive instituted by the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority to assist the State in not
only assessing the level of preparedness but also detecting, preventing and responding to Public Health
Emergencies (PHEs).

In his presentation, the Technical Lead from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) who doubles as
ICAO Regional Coordinator for Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public
Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA), Dr. Wilfred Haggai said that Coronavirus became an
international concern since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak as a Public
Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and the duty to prevent it from spreading globally
was to implement effective Port Health measures at the Freetown International Airport (FNA) as a key
Point of Entry (POE).

He also noted that they would review the level of implementation recommended by the International
Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of
Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) 2017.

“On immediate actions, I advise that an Incident Command System be set up. Stakeholders should also
identify technical working teams at Points of Entry who should meet at least once a week to provide
updates on activities. MoHS should also identify more isolation centres that are equipped with standard
health facilities in the event of confirmed cases,” he said.

The representative from WHO, Dr. Wilson Gachri pointed out that the role of WHO was to increase
understanding of the disease, provide advice, keep countries informed, coordinate with partners and
help countries prepare in case of any eventuality. He mentioned further that the goal was to review the
National capacity of Freetown International Airport using the WHO tool for 2019 –novel Coronavirus.

During the workshop, team recommended that public health training should be conducted for all airport
staff with a special training for public health staff comprising doctors, nurses and environmental officers
who are expected to work 24 hours on shift duties, noting further that authorities considered as Very
Important Persons (VIP) must not be exempted from screening and the Emergency Operations Centre
(EOC) at the airport should be in operation. He also urged MoHS to distribute Health Locator Forms to
all airlines latest Monday.

The workshop was climaxed with a random inspection of facilities instituted at the Freetown
International Airport (FNA). The team supervised Port Health Facilities, screening facilities and provided
recommendations to heighten screening and surveillance measures.

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