Monday, 27 October 2008

Day 50 Been invited on an expedition to Africa

Recently I have been approached by a local charity....
to be a medical advisor for an expedition to Africa. Tenatively they want to leave in 2010.
I said I would be happy to go..... if the planning is right....and I am confident in the people who are also going.....and only if they take my advice...and have a medical doctor oversee the project.
The trip will last anywhere from 6-12 months....Starting here in the UK....entering Africa in Morrocco and circumnavigating the via 4x4s (Landrovers/Pingauers or Landcruisers) south along the coast...through the sub-sahara South Africa....north..bypassingZimbabwe.....towards Kenya/Ethiopia.....and finally towards the countries bordering the Med...ending in Tunisia. Because I am an american I will have to bypass certain and Libya.
There are many things medically I am thinking we will have to be thinking about..before, during and after. When most people think Africa they think...about dangers from the animals...malaria...AIDS......but those are the obvious dangers.... Food and sanitation is a major factor....Water purification....Some of the lakes/rivers have flukes that enter your body though mucas membranes....and destroy your internal organs.... The heat is a major is the groups health and diet before leaving. I would need to know what immunizations people would need before entering each long would we have to have them before long are they good for...where do we get them if we are on the road....etc.... Africa is a fairly crap area to drive in.
So far I have done quite a bit of research....There is much to do. I have already found a decent medical kit...good for 6-12 people..but it must be resupplied every 3-4 months.
Thing is...logistically...this could be a nightmare.
I don't think the trustees really have any idea what a trip of this magnitude could mean medically. Everything from personal health, shots....medications....trauma gear...field san etc... In my opinion you need to have every logical scenario pre-worked out before you go.
The multitude of things I have to think about are on a massive scale. Honestly I don't think I will take the job if I am to go about it alone, without some medical back-up. If it was 2-3 months maybe....but this is a massive responsibility.
Plus first and foremost I have to think of my own personal safety. I sure ashell don't want to come home with some fuckin disease no one has a cure for....or worse yet...being eaten feet first by Chuckles the lion.
For now I will see how things go...there is pleanty of time. I will keep you posted....


Jen said...

WOW! Sounds like one of those once in a lifetime things that would be absolutely amazing. Do they need a group therapist? lol. Just make sure you don't end up on the Isle of Dr. Moreau.