Even the regional health office serving the MIMAROPA (Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan provinces) did not expect to be flying out a number of residents for medical emergencies when it decided to offer air ambulance services in the region.

Since it began operations in February, the Air Ambulance service – with two aircraft – have been averaging two to three flights per day. A total of 92 patients have been air lifted from far-flung villages in the region.

The service is in partnership with the Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services, Inc. The project was in response to cases of mostly indigenous peoples living in remote or isolated villages who needed immediate medical attention but are not served because they have no means to get to medical facilities on time.

OF the 92, 12 were trauma patients, and 35 were of an emergency nature. In April, 24 individuals were airlifted, while the month of May saw 21 patients needing the service.

“This is the most effective and quickest response in saving a patient’s life, especially those who reside in remote and hard to reach areas. Critical patients and emergency cases needing immediate care can be transported right away to the nearest health facility without difficulty,” said Reg. Director Janeiro.

However, the overwhelming need for the airlift service has made it necessary for the aircrafts to undergo maintenance services to ensure these will be safe during flight assignments.

“We have not anticipated the numerous requests for passenger transport,” Regional Director Dr Eduardo Janairo said. Upon inspection, it was found that several parts already needed to be replaced immediately, for both aircrafts.

While undergoing scheduled maintenance checks, the service has had to be temporarily suspended. The Air Ambulances fly to and from Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan. Some of the cases have required flying patients to the National Capital Region where most of the better equipped medical facilities are located.

The regional health official said maintenance checks, and the resulting suspension of services, was necessary to ensure the safety of the aircraft, which is critical when transporting both ambulatory and non-ambulatory patients.

The aircrafts are staffed by paramedics.

“We shall resume our regular operation once the necessary parts are replaced and the aircrafts are fit to fly again,” assured Reg. Director Janairo. MIMS

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