Extending Life

Because of you, MAF is delivering vaccines throughout the Congo

It’s only been since 2015 that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was declared polio-free (UNICEF Annual Report 2015). The last outbreak occurred in 2010, prompting a vigorous vaccination campaign. Today vaccines are still vitally important in keeping this disease, and others, from crippling or taking lives. And MAF airplanes play a key role in making sure life-saving vaccines reach the most remote areas of the DRC.

Every quarter, in partnership with the Swedish Baptist Mission, MAF airplanes deliver thousands of vaccines to remote village clinics in western DRC. Earlier this year the Cessna Caravan carried 5.5 tons of polio, yellow fever, pneumococcus, and other vaccines. This meant three full days in a row for the pilots, with lots of loading and unloading, and several take offs and landings.

MAF flights allow for a “cold chain”—constant refrigeration—that vaccines and some medicines require to remain effective. In this vast country, it would be impossible to maintain that if the delicate vials were transported great distances, over deteriorated roads or trails. A short MAF flight ensures that they can stay chilled and arrive safely at a rural clinic or hospital.

Throughout its 50-plus years in the DRC, MAF has had its share of vaccine flights. Enabling vaccinations to reach remote and isolated villages in the African bush has no-doubt played a part in children living past the age of five. In 1980, for instance, the under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) was 204. In 2016 that number was 98.3 per 1,000 (according to United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Reports).

“We know that there are fewer outbreaks of disease in the areas that we serve because of these vaccine flights,” said MAF pilot Garth Pederson. He and his family have been making a difference in west DRC since 2000.

Your partnership with MAF means that you are also making a difference, not only in the DRC but in the other remote regions where MAF serves. Medicines, medical supplies, and vaccines are frequently on board our airplanes—saving lives and extending hope.

 

MAF flights deliver vaccines over an incredible distance.

MAF staff load up vaccines, in coolers, for one day’s worth of flights.
Photo by Garth Pederson.
Medical staff and families watch as vaccines are unloaded at one of the remote villages in WDRC.
Photo by Garth Pederson.
Helping hands unload vaccines in another remote village.
Photo by Garth Pederson.
MAF pilot Kevin Spann unloads boxes of vaccines and medical supplies amidst onlookers.
Photo by Garth Pederson.

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