Haiti Air Ambulance (HAA), a New York not-for-profit corporation, will offer Haiti’s first helicopter emergency medical service this Spring. Funded entirely from private contributions and operated to FAA air ambulance standards, the new service will be officially announced this Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, in Haiti.
Four years after the devastating earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti still has only one trauma center, no air ambulance service, and virtually no ground ambulance operations for its population of 10 million. Despite billions of dollars in approved aid, most roads remain in poor condition and more than 250,000 Haitians still live in tents.
“People continue to die every day of broken bones, treatable illnesses, and even childbirth because they cannot reach medical assistance,” says Ralph McDaniel, Acting Executive Director of HAA. “Helicopter EMS service will save countless lives. This service is also an important step toward increasing health care capacity and enhancing health care access to the citizens and visitors of Haiti, directly contributing to the country’s development.”
Scheduled to begin in March, the service will initially provide daytime-only patient transfers from outlying hospitals to trauma and critical care facilities, regardless of whether or not the patient can pay. Once services are established and the EMS infrastructure develops, HAA will expand to transporting patients to hospitals from accident scenes.
Private investors and helicopter EMS professionals founded HAA to support the Haitian people. In addition to bringing critical aeromedical transportation to the country, HAA will hire and train Haitians to eventually run the entire service. HAA has already hired local medical staff and recently signed a contract with Air Methods Corporation for two Bell 407 helicopters, three pilots and two mechanics. Hangar construction for the service is underway at the SONOPI Industrial Park adjacent to the Port-au-Prince airport.
Haiti Air Ambulance is a public, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to providing safe, efficient and sustainable aeromedical transportation for the people of Haiti. HAA includes aviation professionals, skilled medical personnel and other supporters ofHaiti’s first HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) and Medical Evacuation program. For more information, visithaitiairambulance.org.