Malaria in DRC Ver9

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On 21 January 2015, International SOS received a call from a representative of Group Five, a leading African construction, concessions and manufacturing group. As a client of International SOS, they needed support for an employee who had been diagnosed with malaria and admitted to a hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


In Brief

The treating doctor supplied International SOS with a comprehensive medical update, and due to the severity of the case, it was recommended to Group Five that their employee be urgently evacuated via Air Ambulance to Johannesburg for upgraded medical care. Group Five accepted this recommendation and International SOS activated the mission within two hours of the initial case notification. As a result the patient was evacuated safely into Johannesburg in less than twelve hours from first client contact.

The case background

  • Security: at that time the DRC was a high-risk zone for travel, with only essential travel and flights being recommended due to violence and unrest on the ground. The International SOS and Control Risks security team was called upon to provide advice and support and subsequently declared the Air Ambulance mission safe to proceed on condition that certain locations were avoided. Through the combined efforts of International SOS personnel, landing permits for the Air Ambulance were swiftly obtained and our security team’s instructions closely followed, thereby ensuring the overall safety of the patient and the medical crew.
  • Medical treatment: the severity of the patient’s condition meant that complex and long term medical treatment was required. International SOS constantly monitored the patient’s condition and evaluated the medical treatment being administered by the treating doctors. We also maintained on-going communications with Group Five’s Authorised Persons (the key client contacts) regarding the patients case. Through our recommendation, Group Five agreed that the patient would benefit from having support from a family member during his treatment. We therefore proceeded to assist with all the transport and accommodation logistics for the relative, including the provision of documents required to obtain a South African visa.

Kid with malaria warning

When the patients’ medical team declared him fit-to-fly, International SOS arranged for his repatriation to the Philippines, which included arranging a suitable facility in Manila that could provide the continued care for the patient; booking the return flights for the patient and family member back to Manila; facilitating the transfer from the hospital to OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg and the same in Manila; providing a comprehensive medical report of the patients’ case to the receiving doctors in Manila and obtaining confirmation from medical team in Manila of their acceptance to continue the treatment. 

The Impact

The employee was rapidly evacuated to a centre of medical excellence to receive the best medical care for treating severe malaria.  Due to the intervention, the employee recovered and was successfully repatriated to his home country for on-going treatment and monitoring. International SOS ensured timely payment for all treatments and hospitalisation (ICU and High Care) by providing a guarantee of payment, thereby reducing the financial burden on his family and expediting care.

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