15.01.2023 | Johannesburg, South Africa
As 2023 ended, we reflected on yet another eventful year for our team in Africa. Not only has it been a year where we executed some incredible air ambulance missions, but we also made significant progress from an operational point of view to increase our capabilities and overall efficiency.
With our African base strategically located in Johannesburg, South Africa we service a very large geographical area. As a testament to that we performed missions to 28 different countries in 2023 alone. This also included 2 intercontinental missions, to India and the UAE. Considering the difficulty of operating in Africa with its associated logistical challenges, our operations team did an exceptional job of ensuring all these missions were performed safely and efficiently.
Our medical crews were once again faced with some of the most challenging clinical scenarios in extremely difficult environments, and one can only applaud them for their efforts. We must be prepared for any eventuality with our patients often being undifferentiated and under-resuscitated, requiring long-distance transfers. Our average mission time (activation of the medical crew for departure to handover of the patient) was a remarkable 17 hours. The average patient contact time was just under 6 hours, clearly demonstrating the need for high-quality critical care. The longest mission of the year had a patient contact time of 17 hours, which was for a critically ill, ventilated patient that saw one of our aircraft go all the way to Asia.
The main priority for us remains patient safety and we firmly believe we achieve this by practicing evidence-based medicine through a robust clinical governance system. Of the many initiatives that form part of this system we are particularly proud of our sharp focus on crew development and training program. During the year our medical crews took part in some very interesting and exciting monthly training days. There has also been an increased sense of ownership by all medical personnel involved and that was evident by all medical crew taking up a relevant clinical portfolio to ensure development in that specific area.
There are many more examples of why 2023 was such a remarkable year for us, but what I am most proud of is the passion that was once again on display by everyone involved. With every mission that is activated, there is a sense of urgency to ensure a successful outcome, and everyone strives to deliver their best. The medical crew have smiles on their faces every time they board the airplane, regardless of the time of day (or night). We are all proud to be part of the Air Rescue family and enjoy every minute of our remarkable work.
With 2024 already in full swing, we look forward to another year of making a difference. We will remain committed to continually improving and we are excited by the prospect of overcoming many more obstacles to ensure our patients get the best care possible in their time of need.
Dr. Ulrich Carshagen
Lead Flight Physician at Air Rescue Group