The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on Wednesday announced that in its bid to avoid the re-emergence of the dreaded Ebola virus in the country, it had detected and picked up over 95 per cent of travellers who had high fever as they travelled through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
FAAN also stated that in conjunction with other agencies of government at the airport, it had established a public health emergency contingency plan at the NAIA and other key international airports in the country in order to effectively guard against the disease.
The Head of Medical, FAAN, Dr. Adamu Adamu, disclosed this during a media tour of the Abuja airport, where hundreds of passengers and crew members on-board Emirates Airlines, including the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, were screened with the thermal camera and hand temperature detector.
Adamu said, “In this airport, we have a public health emergency contingency plan that we developed in conjunction with the Port Health Services of the Ministry of Health and our partners, Pro-Health International. I am sure you are all aware of the outbreak of Ebola in Congo, which has moved from the rural areas, where it started, towards Kinshasa.
“Because Kinshasa is a hub, it has become a serious concern and the world is probably in trouble. Right now, the World Health Organisation has not declared public health emergency of international concern over the case, but Nigeria has to be proactive because of our previous experience.”
He added, “What we are doing is not an Ebola scan; we are scanning for high temperature fever so that when we discover any passenger with high temperature, we quickly take that person for proper checks. We don’t want to scare people, because there is no cause for alarm. We want people to come to us if they feel sick or if they suspect any one to be sick.
“We are looking at the temperature scan. We are also looking at the travel history of passengers. We have sanitisers that have been positioned in strategic areas so that passengers who are coming into Nigeria will have facilities to clean up their hands. I can assure you that over 95 per cent of people that come to this airport with high fever are detected and picked up.”
The Northern Regional Manager, FAAN, Sani Mahmud, stated that surveillance and screening for Ebola virus and other infectious diseases had not stopped in all Nigerian international airports since the virus first entered the country in 2014.
He said the agency had always ensured that all equipment such as the thermal camera, screening monitors, hand temperature detectors and hand sanitisers were fully operational.
Mahmud stated that FAAN’s medical department, Port Health Services and Pro-Health International had intensified their level of synergy since the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo on May 8.
“As far as we are concerned, Ebola screening is an exercise we have been doing since the last time the incident occurred in our country. It is not as if because the Ebola case has been discovered elsewhere again that we are rushing back to site. We have been doing it and we have continued,” he added.