x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'Flying hospital' makes maiden voyage

The UAE's so-called flying hospital, billed as the Middle East's first civilian field hospital, arrives in southern Sudan.

JUBA, SUDAN // The UAE's so-called flying hospital, billed as the Middle East's first civilian field hospital, has made its maiden voyage to southern Sudan. The state news agency, WAM, reported yesterday that a UAE Red Crescent team met medical officials in Juba to discuss providing surgical treatment and other care to those in need. Dr Adel al Shameri, the chief executive of the Zayed Charity Initiative and executive director of the flying hospital - officially called the Emirati World Humanitarian Mobile Hospital - said the talks with officials from the University Hospital of Juba focused on which types of cases and procedures the UAE team could help with.

The mobile clinic, which arrived in Juba on Wednesday, is equipped with medical and surgical facilities. As many as 100 medical and support staff have been trained at it. Another team from the UAE is expected to arrive in Juba soon to set up the clinic at a location with sufficient water and electricity. After Sudan, the clinic is expected to fly to Morocco and Lebanon. It is due to stay in each destination for between three and six months.

Juba is the capital of an autonomous regional government in the south led by the Southern People's Liberation Army, former rebels who fought a devastating 22-year civil war against Khartoum. The rebels began laying down their arms last month under a UN demobilisation programme after agreeing in 2005 to end the conflict that claimed an estimated 1.5 million lives and left untold numbers of others in the region with terrible injuries.

* WAM