MEDIA UPDATE: EBOLA OUTBREAK AROUND WEST AFRICA
Arising from the unfortunate Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa, we wish to provide
the following detailed update while confirming that, Kenya Airways is still flying to and
from several destinations in that region.
Our continued operations in West Africa are primarily based on the fact that we
continue to maintain very close contact with health and travel authorities such as the
World Health Organisation (WHO) and The International Air Transport Association
(IATA). These key organizations’ alongside the International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) continue to coordinate closely with us, with respect to potential spread of Ebola
through Air Travel.
It is also instructive to note that according to information availed to us from IATA and
collaborated by local experts, the World Health Organization (WHO), current risk
assessment for the spread of Ebola by Air travel and transport is minimal and hence not
recommending any travel restrictions or the closure of borders at points of entry.
Further, the WHO states that: “The risk of a tourist or businessman/woman becoming
infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease
after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from
which primary cases have been reported. Transmission requires direct contact with
blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or
animal, all unlikely exposures for the average traveler. Tourists are in any event advised
to avoid all such contacts.”
At Kenya Airways, we continue to maintain several precautionary measures, as follows:
• We have taken proactive measures to educate all Kenya Airways’ staff, and
especially those on the ground in Sierra Leone and Liberia, on Ebola, how it is
transmitted and how to keep safe.
• Our crew members have also been supplied and trained on the use of Universal
Precaution Kits (UPKs) to ensure that they do not come into contact with body
fluids while carrying out their duties.
• Crews handling our flights to any West African destination continue to receive up
to date briefs before departure and upon arrival back home from the KQ Medical
personnel to ensure they (CREW) are clear on the procedures to follow to protect
themselves and cross infection of passengers.
• For the Ground Staff in Monrovia, Free Town, Accra, Lagos and Abuja we are in
constant contact and have provided them with protective materials and related
support. The Ground staff and crew are also on high alert to identify passengers
who look unwell on check in or on board and facilitate immediate review by a
medical personnel for assistance.
• Kenya Airways is represented in the National Aviation Pandemic Preparedness
Committee (through steering committee of CAPSCA that is chaired by the Kenya
Civil Aviation Authority). This enables us access information real time on the
country position during such situations.
• We continuously monitor updates from World Health Organisation and the
International Air Transport Association on the disease, its spread and for
guidelines on recommended actions.
• Additionally, strict surveillance is carried out at JKIA for all flights from West
Africa by Port Health Unit that has this mandate.
So far Ebola has not been declared an epidemic/pandemic. No travel bans or advisory
have been given or recommended. Withdrawing our flights to these key destinations
given the safeguards already placed by the respective governments’ and global health
authorities would amount to a corporate placement of unnecessary travel advisory.
We shall continue providing progressive and periodic media updates as the situation
Thank you for flying ‘The Pride of Africa’.
Dr Titus T Naikuni
Friday August 08, 2014