While malaria is easily treatable and usually does not result in death for those infected in most of the world, it remains a leading cause of death in Africa to the tune of 1.2 million people in 20101. That’s why Mission Aviation Fellowship’s presence there is so critical in the fight against this killer disease.
In Democratic Republic of the Congo, MAF works closely with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières – MSF) to help deliver medical treatment in outbreak areas. MAF also helps distribute bed nets treated with insecticide to those living in the remote mountains of Mozambique. Even MAF missionaries aren’t immune to the ever-present malaria problem.
Outside of Africa, the number of malaria-related deaths is much lower2—but it cannot be ignored.
MAF’s program in Papua, Indonesia, experienced the ill-effects of malaria firsthand with a medical evacuation flight. Pilots Nathan Fagerlie and Tim Smith dropped off a delivery in Kiwi before being asked to take back a man stricken with malaria. Running a high fever, the man began acting crazy and needed to be strapped to the floor of their Kodiak airplane. They flew to Sentani to get the man some much-needed medical attention that would save his life.
On World Malaria Day, let’s not forget how many lives still hang in the balance of whether or not they can receive quick treatment for malaria—and how important MAF’s role is in enabling vaccinations and other supplies to reach isolated areas in desperate need of aid.
1 Christopher JL Murray, Lisa C Rosenfeld, Stephen S Lim, Kathryn G Andrews, Kyle J Foreman, Diana Haring, Nancy Fullman, Mohsen Naghavi, Rafael Lozano, Alan D Lopez. “Global malaria mortality between 1980 and 2010: a systematic analysis”. The Lancet, Volume 379, Issue 9814, Pages 413 – 431, 4 February 2012 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60034-8