It is with great pleasure and honour that I once again welcome the team members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Collaborative Arrangement for the prevention and management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) Africa Project to Lagos, Nigeria. The ICAO CAPSCA Africa Project team visited Nigeria in 2009 and 2011 to assist Nigeria in developing competencies, structures and procedures in preventing the spread of communicable diseases through Air Travel. I want to welcome the ICAO CAPSCA team members; Michiel Vreedenburgh (Team Lead), Chief Implementation Planning and support section (safety) Air Navigation Bureau, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Headquarters, Montreal Canada, Nika Meheza Manzi, Regional Officer – Aerodromes and Ground Aids & CAPSCA WACAF Regional Coordinator, Dr. Harry Opata, Disease Surveillance Response, WHO/AFRO Inter country support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, World Health Organization (WHO), Andrew J. Demma, Lead, International Border Team, Quarantine and Border Health Services Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States of America, Dr. Lesogo Bogatsu, Technical Advisors Team Leader, CAPSCA Africa and Engr. Adel Ramlawi, Regional Officer, Aerodromes, & Ground Aids International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Middle East Office, Cairo, Egypt. The assistance visits to Lagos and Abuja International airports were a great resource in the successful containment of Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Nigeria in 2014, in which the Aviation Sector played a vital role.
I want use this opportunity to also welcome the permanent secretary Federal Ministry of Aviation, Managing Directors of FAAN and NAMA, representatives of World Health Organization (WHO) Nigeria Country office, and Federal Ministry of Health, Directors, General Managers of aviation Parastatals, other distinguished stakeholders of the Nigerian Aviation sector and most importantly gentlemen/ladies of the press to this very important event.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in partnership with stakeholders in the Nigerian Aviation sector (FAAN, NAMA, Port Health Services, Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Customs and Excise, Security Agencies, Air Carriers (Domestic and International), Ground handling Companies (NAHCO and SAHCOL etc) and the Federal Ministry of Health have recently produced a National Aviation Public Health Emergency Preparedness Plan. This document which was drawn mainly from the template provided by ICAO will serve as a guidance material to all aviation stakeholders in the handling of suspected cases of communicable diseases within the Nigerian airspace.
I want to use this opportunity to appreciate stakeholders in the Nigerian Aviation Sector for their professionalism and commitment in the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the country in 2014. Some of you risked your lives and that of your families for the general good of the country.
This inter-agency Collaboration, Cooperation, Coordination and Communication displayed during the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak must be sustained to enable us effectively handle any suspected case of communicable disease in our Airports.
It is once again my singular honour to welcome our distinguished visitors to Nigeria and implore them to enjoy the hospitality and friendliness of the Nigerian people.
It is therefore my hope that this Post Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Assistance visit by your team will go a long way in entrenching a positive and enduring culture in the Nigerian Aviation sector and globally in the prevention of the spread of communicable diseases through Air travel.
It is therefore my pleasure to declare this event open. I wish all of you a fruitful deliberation and outcome at this very important event and journey mercies back to your various destinations at the end of this assignment.