Middle Fly: Medevac for Women Saves Lives

OTDF field officer, Mark Edwards assists women folk carry Agnes on a stretcher to the OTML chopper. Picture by Raymond Walo – Middle Fly PO

The Middle Fly Women’s Association Medevac Program and funding is a pioneer program, possibly the first in the country and unique for this group of women to reach out to the people during emergencies in their region.

The program is bringing hope to the poor people who are unable to reach the District Health Centre in Daru, Kiunga hospital, Rumginae hospital or Tabubil hospital.

Ms. Agnes Peter of Wanga-wanga Village is a thankful recipient of this program, now reunited with her baby.

Agnes was air lifted from Aiambak airstrip to Kiunga to receive immediate treatment for antenatal trauma after delivery.

Health workers advised that she experienced a retained placenta and required further assessment from

doctors in Kiunga hospital due to severe blood loss and a history of anemia which requires blood transfusion.

Agnes is one of several patients who have been assisted through this program.

Many lives are lost when transporting patients on a dinghy through the winding Fly River since there are no roads linking the Middle Fly Region to Kiunga or Daru.

The only available way to travel is by boat on the river and for some who cannot afford the travel cost succumb to their illness.

“We have seen our women folks and children dying from curable disease and we made this bold decision to allocate K100, 000 every year to support the medivac program”, said Charlotte Mathews President Middle Fly Women’s Association.

She said the medevac requests comes from the health workers within the Region. Ms. Mathews said the medical referral and evacuation program may use all modes of transport, including: Health Centre out board motors and dinghies, MV Fly Hope, MAF (with all referrals using MAF going straight to Rumginae hospital), Central Aviation, OTML Twin Otter flights and most recently the OTML Helicopter.

Agnes’ recent medevac was the first time to charter a chopper to move a patient from Aiambak as there was no other option.

“I applaud the Women leader’s wise decision to help the women in their region, for serving with distinction, and touching the lives of many women and children.” Mr Eric Kuman, OTDF PSSD.

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