Charity Evacuation – Mandera to Nairobi

Mandera County is located in the North Eastern part of Kenya bordering Ethiopia to the North, Somalia Republic to the East, and Wajir County to the South.

Medical facilities in Mandera are far and wide. The communities living in this area are largely pastoralists as the area is semi-arid and considering the position of this region there is constant inter-tribal enmity and fighting. The Mandela District Hospital is ill-equipped – only able to offer basic health services despite serving the large population around it.

On the afternoon of 21st January 2015, AMREF Flying Doctors Emergency Centre received a call from the Chief Operations Officer of Mandera District Hospital, requesting for a charity evacuation flight for a patient who had sustained over 50% burns

The patient – Sheik Ibrahim, a housewife and mother of four from Tacaba Village – was preparing a meal for her family at home using firewood. On her back, strapped and sleeping peacefully, was her three-year-old daughter. Her husband, an active pastrolist was away looking for pasture for the family cattle.

It was whilst she was cooking that her clothes accidentally cought fire. On realizing that her clothes were on fire she ran out of the house screaming as the flames quickly consumed her clothes and began to scorch her body. Relatives rushed to her aid, and as quickly as they could took her to Mandera Referral Hospital. Luckily, her daughter had not been harmed by the fire, but Sheik sustained third degree burns from her neck downwards.

Health workers at the hospital did their best to treat Sheik, but her injuries were too severe and due to lack of proper facilities, after five days she had showed little improvement, and thus she sheeded to be transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital which is the largest referral hospital in East Africa, with a burns unit. As Halima could not come to Nairobi by road, air ambulance was the only safest means to transfer her to Nairobi.

There was a quick consultation within AMREF Flying Doctors management team on the case before we took off from Wilson airport. Two hours later AMREF Flying Doctors’ King Air aircraft landed in the Mandera airstrip where the team received the patient. The patient was stabilised and immediately connected to the oxygen and monitoring machines. The team was soon airborne, heading back to Wilson Airport, Nairobi.

Immediately on touch down in Nairobi, our Advanced Life Support ground ambulance was at hand to transport the patient to the burns unit at The Kenyatta National Hospital. AMREF Flying Doctors has since visited Halima and we are happy that patient is doing much better, she continues with daily wound dressings and wounds reportedly much better. Has been started on passive physiotherapy and prognosis good.


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