Every year, more and more people set off to Africa in the hope that that they will stand on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. But climbing Kilimanjaro is not easy and many people fail to make the summit. They fail for a variety of reasons. Altitude sickness is the leading cause. However, there are other reasons such as not being fit, not having the right equipment, illness, and injury.

Helicopter Evacuation KilimanjaroNot making the summit due to poor training should not be a reason to fail. There is a lot of information on what to expect on your Kilimanjaro climb. Peak Planet even has a suggested training program.

Despite the information provided, some people still do not prepare adequately. This failure rate has created another problem on the mountain. Many people are now choosing to use a Kilimanjaro helicopter evacuation—which is reserved for emergencies—as a way to come down off the mountain quicker. This is a completely irresponsible way to get off the mountain. The helicopters need to be available for patients requiring emergency evacuations. If the helicopter is unavailable because people are using them like an Uber, then someone could risk getting sicker, or worse, die, while waiting for the rescue helicopter to arrive.

Ivan Braun, chief executive officer of Kilimanjaro SAR has recently ordered a second helicopter due to the increase in traffic. “The demand for our services is going up,”  he said. Kilimanjaro SAR is a helicopter-based search and rescue company operating on Mount Kilimanjaro.

AMREF

Kilimanjaro helicopter evacuationSo how does this apply to Peak Planet clients? Peak Planet offers AMREF Flying Doctors Evacuation Insurance free of charge on all of our Kilimanjaro climbs. Simply put, AMREF Flying Doctors will be called if you require an airlift for emergency purposes. They will take you to the appropriate hospital based on the severity of your sickness or injury.

Who Is AMREF?

Three surgeons – Sir Michael Wood, Archibald McIndoe, and Thomas Rees established AMREF in 1957. They were involved in a number of healthcare projects in East Africa. They created AMREF in response to the combined effects of poverty, tropical disease, and a lack of adequate health services in East Africa. Their collective vision was born in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.

In order for our clients to use this service, we do require everyone climbing Kilimanjaro to have travel insurance. Read more about travel insurance here: https://peakplanet.com/need-travel-insurance/

Airlift

In rare situations, where evacuation on foot or stretcher is insufficient, our guide will contact our staff in Moshi using the Garmin InReach satellite communication device to begin the Kilimanjaro helicopter evacuation procedure immediately.

Our staff will then dispatch an AMREF helicopter to one of the two landing zones on the mountain. Meanwhile, our guide will bring the injured or sick person to the landing zone. Patients can be flown to several locations depending on the severity of the sickness or injury. For minor issues, they will be flown to a hospital in Moshi or Arusha. For more severe issues they will be flown to a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. If the injury or sickness requires a more advanced team of doctors they will be flown to the hospital in South Africa.

For this reason, it is important that all of our clients pay for travel insurance and fill out their client form including their passport photo page. In order to protect you in cases of emergency, we require these items. To avoid any delays during the evacuation, we preregister all of our clients with AMREF.

IFREMMONT

In addition to AMREF, Peak Planet is also partnered with IFREMMONT, a European-based high altitude medical training organization. IFREMMONT has been training guides in the Alps since 2005. The organization is highly respected in the mountaineering community. They are the best high-altitude medical doctors in the world. Our medical training, evacuation procedures, and safety protocols are based on IFREMMONT’s established guidelines for first aid and mountain medicine.

Our guides learn how to treat specific illnesses that can come from high-altitude conditions. They know how to handle all types of emergencies on the mountain, including rescue and evacuation.

Wilderness First Responder

And finally, our guides are all Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certified. They are basically doctors on the mountain. Our guides have been guiding Kilimanjaro for many years and have seen every possible situation. Their training has made them able to respond swiftly to any emergency.

For these reasons, the odds of you needing a medical airlift while climbing Kilimanjaro with Peak Planet are almost nonexistent. With our highly trained guides and daily health checks, we will know that there is a problem well before you need to be airlifted off the mountain. If however, you do, climb with Peak Planet you will have the peace of mind that you are in good hands.

Although I am a physician (off the mountain), your chief guide is the physician of the mountain. Follow his advice.”

—Dr. Little,
Surgeon In Chief,
McLane Children’s Hospital

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