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Rapid deployment of a hospital clinic in the UAE supports the evacuation of more than 4,000 people from Afghanistan bound for Australia

PROJECT

Deployable hospital clinic and staff in the UAE

Background

In August of 2021, Aspen Medical through its office in the United Arab Emirates, was contacted by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in request of medical support for the imminent arrival of Afghan evacuees. The evacuees were due to arrive in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in transit to their final destination of Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

This request followed a rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground in Kabul, Afghanistan. Whilst initial estimates concluded that 200-400 evacuees would arrive in country, within 14 days 2,800 evacuees had arrived in-country and under the care of Aspen Medical. Aspen Medical was asked to deploy a clinic capability through its UAE office with immediate effect. In response to this request, and within 72 hours, Aspen Medical put in place a deployable clinic with observation rooms, consulting rooms,  resuscitation, pharmacy, temporary short stay admission, an ambulance, medical equipment and consumables. We also deployed a healthcare team consisting of:

  • 10 x Doctors
  • 22 x Nurses
  • 1 x Psychologist
  • 1 x Pathology Technician
  • Ambulance Driver and Paramedic
  • Logistics personnel

The scope of services included (but was not limited to):

  • primary healthcare services to evacuees
  • interim stabilisation for emergency presentations with support from the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
  • conducting PCR swab parades as requested by the ADF
  • basic onsite pathology services.
  • establishing and maintaining a patient management system
  • coordinating the establishment of isolation facilities for both COVID-19 and diarrhoeal diseases, and establish Standard Operating Procedures
  • advising on fitness to fly in consultation with the ADF and identify patients of concern
  • medical and nursing support on nine Australia-bound repatriation flights from Al Minhad Airbase (Dubai) to ports in Darwin, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

Our team treated 715 patients over a 19-day period, 15% of whom were 5 years of age or younger.

In addition to the treatment of patients, we successfully contained positive COVID-19 patients living in extremely high-density accommodation and arranged the rapid delivery of 50,000 N95 masks from our PPE manufacturing facility in Brisbane, Australia, following a critical shortage.

Challenges

  • Multiple agency collaboration
  • Rapid health logistics response required