As part of its support to the Government of Guinea to strengthen public health measures at Conakry International Airport, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) last week organised validation workshops on Standardized Operational Procedures (SOPs) to manage cases of Epidemic-Prone Diseases developed last January.
This activity was organized thanks to the technical and financial support of USD 1.7 million from October 2016 to September 2017 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The CDC mission in Guinea is very pleased to support IOM’s initiative under the leadership of the National Agency for Health Security (ANSS – Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire) and the Guinean Civil Aviation Authority,” said CDC-Guinea Country Director Dr. Lise Martel. “This is a major step forward by the Government of Guinea in implementing measures to rapidly identify cases of epidemic diseases and to respond effectively at the airport. It is these kinds of initiatives that save lives.”
Between 2014 and 2015, Guinea faced an unprecedented outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The need for a health screening system to monitor internal or cross-border movements of infected travelers led Guinean authorities to seek an adapted system at Conakry International Airport. The measure drew from the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR), which require Member States to acquire the minimal core capacities necessary for the surveillance of and response to Epidemic-Prone Diseases (EPDs) at points of entry.
One of the key recommendations of the Collaborative Agreement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) is to ensure that the established plan and procedures are not only limited to Ebola, but consider also other public health threats in general.
During the workshop, members of different airport service units reviewed and validated a total of four standard operating procedures, including: (1) identification of a sick traveller; (2) notification of a sick traveller in the airport; (3) notification of a sick traveller on board an aircraft; and (4) management and transfer of a sick passenger notified by the sanitary control services.
“The involvement and collaboration of all the different services of the airport is impressive,” said IOM Guinea Chief of Mission, Fatou Diallo Ndiaye. “This is a guarantee of the effective implementation of the procedures in the daily operations at the Conakry International Airport.”
In the coming months, IOM will organize trainings on the various procedures which will be followed by simulation exercises with the participation of all the different airport services.