Airports prepared to handle Cholera


Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Derby has assured that the country is adequately equipped to handle any possible cases of cholera among passengers and crews at the nation’s airports.
This assurance comes in the wake of reports of confirmed cases of cholera in Haiti. The Ministry of Health has heightened surveillance activities against the disease.
Colonel Derby told JIS News that the airports have always been in a high state of preparedness. However, based on the highly contagious and deadly nature of cholera, the JCAA is working assiduously to ensure the safety and health of passengers and crews and persons at the country’s airports. The measures, he said, include collaborating with the relevant authorities to co-ordinate additional efforts aimed at enhancing existing measures.
“Our airports have always been very prepared as we have not really scaled down since H1N1 (Influenza A) and other outbreaks that you would have heard of overtime including SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome),” he informed.
He told JIS News that the JCAA will also be seeking assistance from the Co-operative Arrangement for Preventing the Spread of Communicable Diseases through Air Travel (CAPSCA), an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) body, which aims to “prevent the spread, by means of air navigation, of cholera, typhus (epidemic) small pox, yellow fever, plague and other communicable diseases”.
CAPSCA, Col. Derby explained, comprises experts in aviation medicine, who deal with the prevention of communicable diseases in the air transport industry.
“They will go around and do inspections of airports to see the measures that exist, and based on their findings, recommend enhancement or corrective measures,” he told JIS News.
He pointed out that most countries do have measures as part of their national aviation plans and the role of CAPSCA was to inspect these and suggest enhancements where necessary. “We are looking forward to see how Jamaica can buttress what we already have,” he added.
Jamaica’s representative on CAPSCA is Medical Assessor at the JCAA, Dr. Charlesworth Roberts, who has been working with the local Quarantine Authority Board to see what enhancements can be made to existing measures, to deal with the prevention and spread of communicable diseases.
The CAPSCA project was initiated by the ICAO to reduce the risk of spreading avian influenza and similar communicable diseases by air travel, through co-operative arrangements among participating states and airports. The body adheres to the 2005 World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR).

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