P2-SDP: “Ask for an ambulance, I have two very sick patients on board.”
Mt Hagen Base: ”Ambulance has been ordered.”
P2-SDP: “Thank you, team!”
This is just one set of messages on the aircraft’s v2track system between pilot Corné Noordhoek in our aircraft P2-SDP, and the MAF main base in Mount Hagen.
“In Mt Hagen,” Corné shares, “a team of planners work hard every day to keep the logistics of all flights on the right track. They are my back-up. During the day, we often have contact about changes to the original schedule because one thing is certain: a day of flying in Papua New Guinea rarely goes according to the original plan I take off with in the morning.”
P2-SDP is one of the newer Cessna Caravans MAF PNG currently flies exclusively. This aircraft has a different registration than all other aircraft in our fleet.
So why P2-SDP?
This has to do with our partner PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd (SDP) which purchased this aircraft for MAF to operate as part of an exciting initiative called Aerial Health Patrols (AHP). The service is a partnership funded and managed by SDP
to deliver health services to remote communities in the Western Province.
Since 2019, MAF has committed to a partnership with SDP in which equipment and personnel are deployed by our air service.
In practice, this means that since April of this year, every Monday and Tuesday MAF takes two teams to a remote village. Previously it was just one team per week. On Thursday and Friday each team gets picked up again and flown back to the AHP main base at Balimo.
Each team of seven health professionals includes a mix of doctors, midwives, water hygiene and sanitation specialists, nurses and community health workers.
AHP delivers primary health care to the communities they service. This includes vaccinations, maternal and child health, outpatient clinics, village hygiene and health awareness. MAF plays a crucial role by providing the logistics, not only flying the AHP teams in and out, but also collecting drugs and other medical supplies from Tabubil or Port Moresby, the capital of PNG, and delivering them to Balimo from where the AHP teams take them to where they are needed.
“In the past months, more than 60% of my flying has been for this development work,” Corné said. “It is a privilege to be involved in this life-saving and life-transforming work. Many Christians work at SDP and it is great to work together for the physical and spiritual well-being of the people in the remote areas of Papua New Guinea.”