Thursday June 10: UK Med sends four medics to the Republic of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to support healthcare staff battle the coronavirus pandemic.
The team are responding to an urgent request for support from the WHO Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Secretariat.
Djibouti is a tiny country on the east coast of Africa and has become temporary shelter to 33,000 asylum seekers and refugees fleeing war and drought. It’s estimated that thousands pass through Djibouti each year from its neighbouring countries: Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and from across the Bay of Aden, Yemen.
Djibouti itself is facing a number of crises, particularly extreme poverty, limited access to healthcare and continual health problems, including HIV/Aids.
The UK-Med team of four is made up of critical care doctor and team lead Emery Ebele from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Alphonse Tuyishime, a critical care nurse from Rwanda, emergency department nurse, Pierre Zankou from Benin, West Africa and British biomedical engineer Rob Shutt who arrived today.
The team will provide specialist training to healthcare staff to treat serious and critically ill patients; prevent the further spread of COVID-19; and the installation, use and maintenance of critical care equipment including oxygen supplies. With around 400,000 people living in slums around the capital, the City of Djibouti, the emphasis of this response will be to prepare healthcare teams for a future surge.
David Wightwick, UK-Med CEO said: “UK-Med is proud to work with the WHO in Djibouti. Our UK-Med team will save lives by using their specialist expertise and skills to make sure medics in Djibouti are best equipped to treat those seriously sick with coronavirus.
We stand by the people of Djibouti. This dreadful disease does not respect borders, and none of us are safe until we are all safe.”