Vietnam's 600-kilometer Air Ambulance Flight for Covid-19 Patient in South Sudan
|Members of the AMET team coordinate with the flight crew to transport patient. Photo: NLD|
This is the first case of a patient infected with Covid-19 being treated by the Level 2 Field Hospital No. 3, and transported far from the base in Bentiu.
After receiving the direction of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) on the emergency treatment of a severe Covid-19 patients in Bunj, more than 600 kilometers northeast of the capital Juba, the hospital quickly performed its duties.
The doctors and the air medical evacuation team (AMET) decided to take a special flight, and transport this patient to the capital Juba for treatment (as the patient's wishes).
The AMET team consisting of Senior Lieutenant, Doctor Dinh Van Hong and Senior Lieutenant Huynh Van Khanh quickly gave first aid and promptly transported the patient, ensuring absolute safety. At the same time, they carried out the Covid-19 prevention and control measures.
Doctor Dinh Van Hong said that the patient is a female employee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She had symptoms for about 5 days, then was tired, had difficulty breathing, but had not been treated. Therefore, immediately after receiving the information, the team quickly departed to shorten the time to reach the patient.
"As soon as the plane landed, we gave first aid to the patient on the spot, measured the oxygen saturation (SpO2) at 90%, gave the patient oxygen, encouraged the patient, and brought her on the plane," said doctor Dinh Van Hong.
During the flight, the patient showed signs of fatigue and shortness of breath when the plane ascended, but was promptly treated. The air medical evacuation team safely transferred the patient to the Indian level 2 hospital in Juba.
|Check the oxygen tank. Photo: NLD|
The air medical evacuation team has the duty to give first aid and air transport patients in the Mission area when required. Due to the poor road conditions in South Sudan, especially in the rainy season, it is impossible to travel by road. Therefore, the transportation of patients is mainly done by air.
However, the airports in Bentiu and the surrounding area are only land lots, the runways are small and short, the risk of flying unsafe is high. Transportation was more difficult especially during the biggest flood in South Sudan's history, causing flooding on the runway.
|A member of the air medical evacuation team encourages the patient before the plane takes off for the capital Juba. Photo: NLD|
After traveling 600 kilometers, the air medical evacuation team safely transferred the patient to the Indian Level 2 Hospital in Juba. After that, the team returned to Bentiu to continue with their teammates on their mission at Level 2 field hospital No. 3.
South Sudan is the world's "youngest" country in the world. Located in East Africa, the country has been going through a civil war since 2013. Many areas in South Sudan are ravaged by conflicts. The people here still face civil war, famine, and disease.
From the end of March 2021, the staff and soldiers of the Vietnam Level 2 field hospital No. 3 set out to South Sudan to carry out UN peacekeeping missions. This is the third time our country has organized a field hospital to participate in international peacekeeping.
The situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Sudan was complicated since the second half of December due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), on January 6, the country recorded 15,937 new F0 cases, the number of recovered cases was 12,934 and the number of deaths was 136. However, the actual number of Covid-19 cases may be many times higher due to limited capacity to diagnose Covid-19 in South Sudan.
During the 9 months of duties at the Mission, the air medical evacuation team of the Level 2 Field Hospital No. 3 overcame difficulties, deployed emergency services and transported 15 cases by air, including many severe cases. With the qualifications and experience of the doctors and nurses, the team has completed the assigned tasks, appreciated by the Chief Medical Officer of the Mission and the units.
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