Flying Doctors Seeks Regional Integration for West African Health Sector

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  • Air ambulances can boost African health sector

Martins Ifijeh

There will be many advantages to regional integration of medical services in the West African sub-region, Flying Doctors Nigeria has said.

Speaking in Banjul, The Gambia, during this year’s West African College of Surgeons (WACS) conference and scientific meeting, Flying Doctors Nigeria Founder, Dr. Ola Brown, stated that regional integration will help the region to develop “medical centres of excellence that can receive large volumes of specialist medical cases,” explaining that these centres will help medical personnel to “develop expertise in very specific areas of medicine.”

The West African College of Surgeons (WACS) annual meeting is one of the most prestigious medical conferences in Africa. The conference was attended by surgeons from about 22 West African countries. This year’s WACS conference had ‘Global Surgery Implementation for West Africa’ as its theme.

Speaking further on international collaboration in the region, Brown stated that air ambulance services should be key part of the region’s medical sector cooperation.

She explained that air ambulance services are capable of enhancing the region’s medical collaboration by “facilitating transportation of patients across large distances in very short time frames.”

West Africa has some of the poorest health outcomes in the world in form of high maternal mortality rates, high child mortality rates and high mortality rates from trauma and infectious diseases like malaria.

The healthcare expert stated that air ambulance services can help patients save lives by “circumventing the region’s infrastructural challenges, such as poorly maintained roads common in the region.”

Flying Doctors Nigeria is West Africa’s first and leading air ambulance service organisationbased in Nigeria. Established about 10 years ago, the firm airlifts patients across the world in medically equipped aircrafts for specialist medical attention.

Brown explained that air ambulance services make it easier for medical experts to refer patients that cannot be handled in their home countries to other countries in the sub-region where such ailments can effectively be treated.

She further explained that air ambulance services also serve a high percentage of professionals, especially those in oil and gas industry who work in high-risk environments, making it compelling to have air ambulance services for rescue operations in hard-to-reach areas.

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