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Whenever the AMREF Flying Doctors ground ambulance is spotted at Kenyatta National Referral Hospital one need not ask the type of emergency at hand. Around 1530 hrs on Friday 23rd We entered the Referral hospital, with curious gazes from the onlookers. This hospital is normally one of our final destinations from all our charity evacuation missions and it was where we handed 66yr old Abdille to the emergency room, following her successful evacuation from mandera.

Whenever the AMREF Flying Doctors ground ambulance is spotted at Kenyatta National Referral Hospital one need not ask the type of emergency at hand. Around 1530 hrs on Friday 23rd We entered the Referral hospital, with curious gazes from the onlookers. This hospital is normally one of our final destinations from all our charity evacuation missions and it was where we handed 66yr old Abdille to the emergency room, following her successful evacuation from mandera.

It’s no secret that the tribal wars in Mandera, a town in the North Eastern Kenya, will not be ending soon. There are two notorious rival tribes in this region, constantly battling for territory or dominance. On 22nd May, at noon, an urgent call came from Halima, the hospital administrator for Mandera County Referral Hospital. She requested an air ambulance evacuation for a 66yr old lady who had survived a gun-shot wound on her left leg. The evacuation was confirmed at 1500hrs the same day, once arrangements for a receiving hospital bed in Nairobi had been made.

Normally it will take 2hrs to fly to Mandera and 2hrs back, posing an insurmountable challenge for the evacuation to be arranged on the same day, since it would dark by the time of departure from Mandera, which is an unlit airstrip. The charity evacuation flight was therefore scheduled to take place the next day. On 23rd at 1025hrs, AMREF Flying Doctors’ King Air took off from Wilson Airport, landing at Mandera airstrip at 1230. On ground was an ambulance with the patient inside, her relatives surrounding it, and a few Kenya Defence Forces securing the area . Since the Mandera County Hospital ambulance was not working, an ambulance from a private facility was borrowed to transport the patient to the airstrip.

The County hospital had stabilised the patient, cleaned her wounds and done an X-ray on her leg. The X-ray revealed that she had suffered a blow out compound fracture on her left distal femur, and basic splinting had been done. Abdille, the patient, is a mother of 7 who, together with her family, on the evening of 21st May had been attacked at around 1930hrs. Her first born son was shot dead, with his sibling narrowly escaping. Abdille was shot at her left leg, and was rushed to Mandera County Referral Hospital.

The communities in this region are majorly pastoralists. Abdille’s husband is a pastoralist who lives away from home, rendering the poor lady and her 7 children, defenceless. Affording an air ambulance evacuation to take her to a better hospital would be impossible. After due consideration, AMREF Flying Doctors’ Chief Executive Officer Dr.Bettina Vadera,and the Chief Medical Officer Dr.Lelo determined to help and thus the medical team lead by Dr.Lelo was dispatched to Mandera for the mission.

On arriving in Mandera, a wind of almost lost hope, despair and struggle comes from the inhabitants. The skies are calm and the dusty roads reveal the failed infrastructure in the area. This town borders Somalia to the East, and Ethiopia to the North. Security in this region is a matter of great concern, and this could be clearly seen by the heavily armed troops surrounding the airstrip.

From the look on her face, Abdille was in pain though she was trying to put up a brave front for her son who looked quite distraught. She was administered with analgesia drugs (pain medications) to ease the pain. Further splinting of her left leg was done and her wound was newly dressed. With her, was her last born son Ismail, who one could clearly see was trying to hold back his tears. He actually saved the day, since we could have suffered an intense language barrier were it not for him.

Inside the aircraft, the medical team administered intravenous fluids to rehydrate Abdille. She was also administered with antibiotics and fever medication. During the flight back to Nairobi, she was continuously monitored and made comfortable. We landed back to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport at 1515hrs where our Advanced Life Support ground ambulance was waiting to rush her straight to Kenyatta National Hospital, the main Referral Hospital in Kenya. The traffic was smooth and in 20 mins, we were already at the hospital .We were promptly received into the emergency room, and we left the patient in good hands.

On the eve of writing this story, Abdille had already been operated on and her fractures fixed. She is reportedly recuperating well and we as AMREF Flying Doctors do wish her well. Abdille’s family was more than grateful for the immense help they were accorded by the AMREF Flying Doctors. AMREF Flying Doctors goes where no one else goes, saving lives 24/365.Join us in our journey of saving lives of the disadvantaged in our society, by supporting our missions through donations via our website. Charity evacuations such as this one are carried out by AMREF Flying Doctors free of charge due to support from various sources. Internationally, by those such as the staff of IBM Sweden and AMREF Italia and locally by companies such as J. W. Seagon, a Nairobi based insurance company that makes regular donations throughout the year, particularly to this programme.

PILOT: CAPT. KEFA KIHARA
DOCTOR: DR. JOSEPH LELO
FLIGHT NURSE: KIZITO OSUNDWA
AIRCRAFT: 5Y-FDE (KING AIR)
TOTAL COST: USD 11,590

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