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Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA)

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Description

To assist States implement public health related SARPs in relevant annexes and associated procedures and prepare for the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme protocol questions on the subject (that will be introduced during 2013), ICAO has established an assistance programme called the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA). An annual CAPSCA meeting is held in each of its five regions (Asia Pacific; Africa; Americas; Europe; Middle East) that brings together all stakeholders to facilitate the growth of multi-sector networks and to develop or amend guidance material. In addition, CAPSCA provides assistance visits to individual States/international airports. In such visits a small team of experts (two or three individuals, ideally including both aviation and public health personnel) visit an airport, usually over two days, and undertake a gap analysis of national/local preparedness plans against the relevant ICAO SARPs, the WHO International Health Regulations (2005) (which contain many articles of relevance to airport and aircraft operators) and associated guidance material. A confidential report is provided that helps the State to develop is preparedness plans.

CAPSCA is being extended to cover public health emergencies other than those relating to communicable disease i.e. nuclear and chemical events. The Fukushima accident raised questions concerning the health and operational risks involved should an aircraft inadvertently fly through a radioactive plume, the correct procedure if a parked aircraft is covered by radioactive dust, or risks to other passengers if an individual exposed to radiation needs to travel by air in order to obtain specialised treatment, as well as several other issues. Experience during this accident demonstrated that the network already established for communicable disease preparedness was useful in helping to manage the aviation aspects and was able to provide up to date, authoritative and generally reassuring news releases that were jointly written by all major agencies involved (including seven UN specialized agencies and two trade associations).

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Further Information

More information on CAPSCA is available on the CAPSCA website.