4 life-saving reasons why health insurance cover in Africa is crucial

by | Mar 1, 2021

A gripping Zambian evacuation shows how The Unisure Group goes above and beyond in its service delivery

The Unisure Group’s Operations Director Cristina Meixieira receives the call on the afternoon of 19 October. There’s been a car accident in Zambia. Two Unisure members are involved, as well as two uninsured passengers who were accompanying them. One passenger wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and has been flung far away from the car. He’s later declared dead on arrival. The other three are in the vehicle and alive, but in a very serious condition.

Reason 1: Remote locations in Africa make emergency response times unpredictable at best

The clock is ticking in every emergency medical evacuation, but this time Cristina is contending with a remote (as yet unknown) accident location, panicked members and a language barrier (her members are Chinese expats that work for a prominent corporate with operations throughout Africa).

Years of experience and an unparalleled passion for what she does makes Cristina one of the best. Within minutes she’s located the scene of the accident and is making calls to dispatch a ground ambulance. She needs to get the patients to the nearest clinic to stabilise them, but she’s also thinking ahead. Knowing that their injuries are likely to be very serious, Cristina starts calling her network and arranging for a medical team at Livingstone Central Hospital to be on standby.

Reason 2: Medical facilities can be limited. When it’s a serious accident, the need for evacuation to a major city, or outside of the country, is very likely

Relationships are everything in this business, especially under extreme circumstances. Cristina has ambulance staff and doctors on call, waiting to admit her patients as soon as they arrive. She is there to ensure that not a single second is wasted.

Once her patients are stabilised at Livingstone Central Hospital, she’s informed that they will need to be evacuated to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. She’s on the phone again, securing authorization not only for her member, but also for the two uninsured passengers who are in as critical a condition.

Their company sends a guarantee of payment and, thanks to the trust that Cristina has earned with her peers, she gets underway prepping the paperwork for one insured and two uninsured patients to be air lifted. Then she puts the head of the Milpark Trauma Unit on standby to receive them.

The patients are successfully evacuated to South Africa via two air ambulances and it’s over to the Trauma Unit’s surgical team to get to work. Not that that means Cristina can close her eyes and rest, however.

Reason 3: Evacuations require an extraordinary amount of paperwork and procedures – something very few civilians are equipped to deal with. Unisure’s service doesn’t stop at the evacuation, however.

She’s constantly keeping her client’s company informed of their employees’ status, updating their family members (via numerous long-distance calls and with translators acting as intermediaries), and she’s also already working on the paperwork needed for the deceased member’s post mortem to be conducted. After that she will assist in arranging the in-country embalming procedure, all conducted according to very strict Chinese burial customs (many of which Cristina is learning about along the way), and thereafter the cremation ceremony in Zambia.

Happily, the three patients that were admitted to Milpark Hospital recover from their injuries and are discharged in early November. Their story is a miracle. It demonstrates the vital importance of adequate health insurance with an insurer that has a track-record of dealing with emergencies – especially when lives are at stake.

Reason 4: The Unisure Group’s operations team doesn’t keep office hours. They’re available 24/7, 365 days a year.

“It sounds like a cliché, but to us, our members are not patients,” Cristina explains. “They’re fathers, husbands, wives, sisters and mothers. They come first, no matter what – and we will do everything humanly possible to help them.

“The Unisure Group does world-class service delivery to a level that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. When you call us, you don’t get a call centre. You get me and my dedicated team on the other end of the line, 24 hours a day. That first call is where it all happens and we’re ready and waiting to help you.

“We treat each and every member with the utmost respect and dignity, and I firmly believe that we offer ‘healthcare with a human touch’ unlike anyone else in the industry can do it.”

For more information on The Unisure Group and what insurance solutions we can offer you, your family and your business, contact us at info@unisuregroup.com