Death happens. Unfortunately that is true. It could happen anywhere, even when you are on a trip, either alone or with your loved ones. According to the US Department of States website, available data shows that an estimated 74-80% of deaths abroad are from natural causes (mostly heart problems); 18-24% from accidents (mostly road accidents) and only 2% from infectious diseases. Causes of non-natural deaths abroad over a 10 year period showed causes of death as – 30% Vehicle Related; 19% Homicide; 14% Suicide; 14% Drowning; 12% Other Accident; Air Accident 3%; Terrorist Action 3%; Drug Related 3% and 2% Natural Disaster. Average total deaths abroad per year within this period were 822.
Bringing it closer to home, in 2017, about 3 Americans had died while travelling in Nigeria according to data on the US department of States website. It therefore goes without saying that death while travelling abroad is rather a more common occurrence than we imagine.
So what do you do when the unexpected happens?
Firstly and most importantly, you need to arm yourself with information. Periods of bereavement are times of extreme grief and emotional stress, and never the best times for anybody to make important decisions. But yet, not the period when not to know what to do.
Decisions may need to be taken on a fast track. These decisions sometime need to take into consideration personal wishes, cultural background and local and international laws.
Let me tell a brief story of an example of these situations of death abroad.
Mr Uche Abunga, (now late) was a 38 year old prosperous business man who travels regularly to China to import goods for his electronics business at Alaba market. During his last business trip to China, he suffered a heart attack and unfortunately lost his life.
Mr Uche was a typical average Nigerian traveller who does not take out general travel insurance or any form of medical insurance. He has always been a healthy person and rarely visited hospitals. So when death struck in faraway China, the family of Mr Uche not only lost a loved one, but was devastated and stuck on how to repatriate (return) the remains of their son home to Nigeria for a proper burial.
Before any mortal remains can be removed or brought into Nigeria, several medical and legal documents often need to be provided to obtain clearance. Fulfilling these requirements usually takes a great financial and administrative toll on the family at a time when they would rather be alone to mourn the loss of their loved one. There is also the extra unbudgeted cost of getting an aircraft, ship or ground ambulance that will convey the remains to the desired location. The cost of making these arrangements can be as higher as twenty thousand dollars when there is no insurance cover in place.
Flying Doctors Nigeria has the expertise to handle all the regulatory requirements to ensure the remains are brought back expeditiously to the family for proper burial. Our medevac cover is a comprehensive package that not only provides for emergency evacuation in cases of illness or injury, but also covers the cost of repatriation of mortal remains in the event of death.
Please click on this link to find more info on our medevac cover.
We make arrangements for the ground or air repatriation of mortal remains to the place of the family’s or next-of-kin’s choice. Besides the need for a customary or cultural burial, families like to be able to point to physical burial place they can go to mourn or remember the lives of loved ones. This in a way gives them a closure to their loss, unlike when such loved ones are left behind overseas.
FDN takes into consideration cultural, religious, government and transportation requirements when making these arrangements.
Our repatriation services include:
- Preparing the deceased in accordance with family or next-of-kin wishes.
- Preparing the deceased in accordance with local and transportation requirements
- Arranging for a coffin suitable for transportation
- Applying for and managing documentation and permits
- Arranging for flights and ground transportation
- Return of luggage and personal effects
- If necessary, arranging a local memorial service, burial or cremation
- Communication with necessary embassies, governmental agencies, military groups, airlines, funeral homes, transportation agencies and other parties involved
Finally, for every person undertaking an international trip, either for business or for leisure, we strongly recommend that you take out a medical travel insurance that also covers repatriation of mortal remains.
The Flying Doctors Nigeria is a member of the British Safety Council that specializes in providing medical solutions such as air ambulance and medical evacuation, ground ambulance procurement and leasing, remote medical services such a medical staffing, online company clinic set-up, site clinic management, occupational health, medical evacuation insurance and other health consultancy services for the oil & gas industry as well as other corporate, military and non-governmental organizations.
For information about how we can support your organization please:
Call us on: 0700 FLYINGDRS/ 0700 3594 64377