Wealthy Kenyans Turn to Planes for Medical Emergencies

A healthworker on a plan preparing for takeoff.
  • A new report has indicated that wealthy Kenyans are preferring planes over their four-wheeled counterparts when it comes to medical emergencies.

    The report from Bluebird Aviation released on Saturday, February 27, indicated that the number of travelers seeking emergency medical attention rose significantly in the last quarter of 2020.

    The airline said it recorded more emergency medical requests in 2020, fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.

    In a statement to kenyagist.com, Bluebird Aviation General Manager, Captain Hussein Mohammed noted an interesting development in which the airline did not record any Covid-19 emergency in the period despite a spike in emergencies.

    A health worker on a plan preparing for takeoff.

    “So far we haven’t carried a Covid-19 patient, but we have seen emergency medical requests soar in the last several months. That was an upshot compared to the previous years,†said Captain Mohammed.

    According to Captain Mohammed, many healthcare centres experienced pressure due to rise in demand for medical services, fuelled by COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This development led partly to the rise in emergency medical evacuation requests as patients look for the best means to get them to health facilities outside their jurisdiction,†he said.

    Previous research conducted by ResearchGate showed that most of the emergencies in Kenya escalate due to a lack of specific training of emergency services personnel to respond to major incidents, poor coordination of major incident management activities.

    A lack of standard operational procedures and emergency operation plans has been shown to expose victims to increased morbidity and mortality.

    Captain Mohammed, however, confirmed that a few airlines such as Bluebird Aviation were prepared to offer medical evacuation and lifting of medical supplies services.

    “We are always on standby for emergency evacuations. Our business relation with Kenya Red Cross is twofold.

    “There is Kenya Red cross Society which deals with relief in areas affected by calamities and disasters then there is E-plus, a unit that offers emergency medical evacuation and uses our medical emergency configured aircraft,†he added.

    According to a 2012 report by Aga Khan University Hospital in 2012, over 1,500 people died while more than one million were affected by natural major incidents in Kenya in the last 12 years.

    An undated photo of emergency beds inside a plane
    An undated photo of emergency beds inside a plane

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