- April 11, 2020
For the second time in as many weeks, an AMREF Flying Doctors Air Ambulance carried a different kind of ‘load’ for an unusual mission.
On Thursday 11th April 2020, the Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Health and the National Coordinating Team contracted AMREF Flying Doctors to deliver an assortment of urgently needed and delicate medical supplies to the Mandera County Government to support the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
The consignment included Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Thermal Gun Thermometers, Testing Kits Suction Machine, a Ventilator just to name a few. The PPE was for Mandera County Health Workers and included about 200 Litres of sanitizer.
The Ministry of Health made this request through the Amref Health Africa Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Githinji Gitahi was for AMREF Flying Doctors to assist with the movement of PPEs to Mandera.
Apart from the more than 100 kilograms of PPE and other medical supplies AFD also airlifted two Lab Technicians who were tasked with sampling on the ground for the day delivered back to Nairobi for analysis.
“We are happy to be working with the National Government through the Ministry of Health (MoH) and other stakeholders as part of the national fight against the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kenya” Said Stephen Gitau, Chief Executive Officer, AMREF Flying Doctors, “We will continue to lend our capability and speciality to support the MOH in its efforts to manage the COVID-19 outbreak in the country”
Mandera is located at the North-Eastern tip of Kenya, bordering the Somalia border to the East and the Ethiopia to the North. A trip by road is about 1,100 Kilometres and would take at least 15 hours through usually rough terrain and very hot temperatures – conditions not favourable for the delicate medical supplies. With the AMREF Flying Doctors flight, this journey was cut to just two hours.
Mandera County recorded its first two COVID-19 patients on Sunday, 5th April 2020. The two who are students in Kilifi County had travelled home for holiday. Although the two patients were retained at the Mandera County Referral Hospital (MCRH) isolation facility after showing COVID-19-like symptoms, their presence in the town also suggested multiple contacts (family, medical staff, travellers) and hence possible multiple infections. MCRH had no proper testing kit or the vital safety gear while all the patient test samples had to be flown to Nairobi for analysis.
This was the second time that AMREF Flying Doctors has been contacted by the government for support since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country. On 25th of March 2020, AMREF Flying Doctors was contracted by the Ministry of Health to deliver an urgently required Ventilator for a COVID-19 patient in Ukunda in the South Coast region (About 520 kilometres or 9 hours by road).
A key beneficiary of the latest consignment will be the Mandera County Health Workers who have remained on the frontline amid a shortage of the necessary PPE. Throughout the world, frontline medical teams have increasingly come in the spotlight for continuously putting their lives on the line to help others during the COVID-19 Pandemic.