Kenya should tap into aeromedical sector potential
Earlier this year, Kenya scored highly on a safety audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation at 78 per cent, an improvement a 66 per cent score in 2008. This score signified a growth in the aviation sector in Kenya since the maiden flight at the Maktaun strip in Taita Taveta.
The sector in Kenya has witnessed tremendous growth owing to increased tourism that has in turn fueled an upsurge in both domestic and international flights.
This growth has, therefore, necessitated diversifications in the services provided by air transport such as the introduction of aeromedical services which have come at a time when emergency services are highly in demand due to high population growth as well the need for specialised emergency response.
The history of African aeromedical service dates back to 1957, when the Flying Doctors in East Africa was established.
In South Africa, aeromedical service started in 1976. Since then, multiple non-profit and private organisations have developed. In West Africa, Nigeria Flying Doctors’ establishment dates back to mid-2000s.
Today, aeromedical evacuation services have saved millions of lives across Africa as they bring a world of rapid response benefits to those in need of emergency services. More companies are investing in modern and specially equipped aircraft that can accommodate patients with any illness or injury and ensure higher survival rates .
It is estimated that there are more than 15,000 aeromedical evacuations from Africa every year, which is believed to collectively cost more than £300 million (Sh37.9 billion).
This underscores the need for specialised services across the continent and also portends immense potential for the aeromedical sector as a whole.
There is high demand for improved and standard aeromedical services. Although awareness levels are still low in Kenya, it is up to players in this industry to sensitise potential clients on the benefits aeromedical evacuation services.
The increase in need for specialised and effective medical solutions calls for an agile and efficient aeromedical industry.
So far, the industry has made remarkable progress, but more needs to be done if local firms are to match services offered by our foreign players. It is critical that more corporations, NGO’s and other organisations to look into aeromedical service as a medical solution.
The writer is CEO, Centric Air Ambulance