NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – Kenyans seeking emergency air ambulance services from remote areas within the country and the region will now be able to register with a newly launched scheme by the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF).
Dubbed Maisha, AMREF Flying Doctors Chief Executive Bettina Vadera said the annual air ambulance scheme will help the organisation extend its services to a wider range of clients.
“Maisha offers different levels of annual air ambulance subscription schemes for individuals, families, small groups and corporates.
This is the first time that AMREF Flying Doctors gives people direct access to their air ambulance services,” she explained.
Previously, the only way to be linked to AMREF Flying Doctors with a premium was through the Flying Doctors Society of Africa.
Benefits under the Maisha scheme include two evacuation flights per year as well as two ground ambulance transfers within Kenya annually, among other offers.
The Maisha scheme is offered in four different plans ranging from a bronze level starting at Sh2,500 for an individual to the platinum level at Sh9,000.
AMREF Head of Programmes Management Mette Kjaer said the scheme falls under the AMREF Flying Doctors business plan that was launched late last year to help the organization raise funds internationally.
“The business plan has an estimated cost of $300 million. Today, around 90 to 95 percent of our funding is coming from donors. So we are very dependent on funding from donors,” she said.
Over the next three years the AMREF business plan will focus that $300 million budget on women’s and children’s health.
Industrialist Chris Kirubi, who has served as a director of the AMREF board for several years, said the Maisha scheme is a necessary service in Kenya, where the emergency response system is still underdeveloped.
“AMREF is a unique organization. It’s something that the government, the Ministry of Health and the rest of the Kenyan population should embrace and should make it central to our Kenyan preparedness for our emergencies,” he asserted.
AMREF was started 55 years ago in Kenya under the name East African Flying Doctors covering the East African Community and now has extended its presence to Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Southern Sudan and South Africa.