In the densely populated (169,000,000) State of Nigeria, according to UNICEF, there are only 1.67 hospital beds per 1000 people. This appalling fact, coupled with the loss of her 12 year old sister due to a lack of available medical care, Dr Ola Orekunrin –at the mere age of 24- founded Flying Doctors Nigeria.
They has taken it upon themselves (according to their website) “to get the right patient to the right facility within the right time frame.” Flying Doctors Nigeria manage to do this by offering their clients medical services such as; inter-hospital transfers, medical repatriation to facilities outside the country in cases where there are no adequate services within the Nigerian borders, and last but not least air ambulance service. The air ambulance service is the focal point of the company, because at the time of the death of Dr Orekunrin’s sister the nearest air ambulance was eight hours away in South Africa, and she vowed “never again” would an air ambulance be out of reach for someone in need. They manage to do this be having a very high tech, advanced fleet of 20 aircraft’s composing of jets, helicopters and planes. Whenever these aircraft’s are in operation they are staffed with the best emergency teams fighting against the clock to keep the patients alive.
Flying Doctors Nigeria boasts a remarkable response time of 20-30 minutes as well as a 100% safety record. That notwithstanding (again according to their website) their clients are “corporate organisations, major event planners, VIPS, individuals & families…..” etc. From this information it can be deduced that they serve the higher echelons of society, while the majority of those people who live in rural parts of the country cannot afford this air ambulance luxury. Although this is the first air ambulance company in West Africa and should be applauded for all the amazing work it has done thus far, it should find space on their aircraft’s for the many who don’t have deep pockets.
Photo Credits: Flying Doctors Nigeria