It’s been a relatively quiet week here at AMREF Flying Doctors. The evacuations have for the most part been insurance work. We work with some of the largest providers and underwriters of international travel insurance in the world. Some of these missions involve evacuating tourists or aid workers from remote parts of Africa to the hospitals of Nairobi and some flights involve medical repatriations to home countries. The insurance work helps us to cover our costs, pays for our charity evacuations and anything left over goes to AMREF’s other humanitarian / aid work. We are a non-profit making organisation and the general philosophy and work ethic here really is admirable.
At the beginning of the week I evacuated an individual from the beautiful Lake Baringo area of Kenya. He is well known in Kenya and beyond for important work in paleoanthropology and wildlife conservation. It was a relatively minor incident and he is recovering well here in Nairobi.
Later in the week I was asked to transfer two patients from a remote hospital in the west of Kenya to one of the main centres in Nairobi. They had been involved in a major road traffic accident and had sustained very severe injuries. Transferring one of these patients would have had its risks, but taking both was a major challenge. Kenya however, and AMREF Flying Doctors in particular have a real ‘can do’ attitude which tends to help make things happen, even in very difficult circumstances. The transfer did not go without incident, but both patients were safely delivered to Nairobi, where I was met and thanked by the Kenyan Prime Minister and his wife. The patients were both well-known to the PM and they were very grateful and complimentary about our work. At times its been an incredibly humbling and rewarding experience to be here.
Other missions this week have included evacuating an 86 year old French lady with a broken hip from Zanzibar. It’s a beautiful place and I was slightly disappointed to see only the airport on this visit. I was last there in 2005 at the end of a 3 month stint working in a small hospital in Tanzania. Fortunately, she was fine and needed only pain relief from us.. although communicating with my rudimentary French and her non-existent English was probably the most difficult thing.
This week the launch of our new ground ambulance was attended by the Minister of Tourism and head of the Kenyan Tourist Board and our Board Meeting welcomed doctors from the Australian Royal Flying Doctors and an internationally renowned aviation medicine expert from the UK, Doctor Terry Martin.
I have 2 more weeks here before returning to the UK to resume my career in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine. Thanks for all of the comments on here and on Twitter (@siforrington, @AMREFFlyingDocs). More next week.