MAF in Timor-Leste — Medevac from Atauro Island

The life of a one-year-old boy, suffering from a lung condition, was saved when he was flown by MAF to receive urgent specialist medical treatment.

MAF’s intervention was so vital because the young patient was on Atauro Island, separated by about 20 miles of water from hospital care in Timor-Leste’s capital Dili.

With every moment critical, the medevac by air took less than an hour to come from Dili and return, when a difficult sea crossing by boat would have taken much longer.

Amelia A. Vital, a nurse who works for the national ambulance and medical service, said it was challenging evacuating sick people from the island. “One of the current challenges for evacuating sick people on Atauro Island is transportation. It is difficult for us to evacuate the patient by boat if the weather is unstable. Sometimes, in an emergency evacuation, it’s very difficult for us to transfer the patients from the island to Dili because we have no reliable transportation,” Amelia said.

Amelia said MAF provides that reliable transport link and said the organisation plays an essential role in helping the Timorese people. “MAF’s presence in Timor-Leste is very important for us in helping Timorese people in remote areas who need emergency medical evacuation to get special medical treatment at the national hospital,” she said.

“MAF is responding to the necessities that the Timorese people need. They help us a lot in providing excellent flight service that is comfortable and trusted by their passengers, especially when transporting sick people and their families from rural areas to the capital.”

Captain Jan Klassen, a pilot, and safety manager for MAF’s programme in Timor-Leste said it was rewarding to provide essential transport for patients on Atauro Island. “I feel honored to be an important link in providing the urgently needed medical help to the Timorese people,” Jan said. “Living at an island with only limited medical care is a huge disadvantage when time is a critical factor. That’s the reason why MAF is flying medevacs to Atauro, simply to save lives.”

MAF’s mission in Timor-Leste plays an important role serving the nation and its people especially those who are living in isolated areas, and in need of urgent assistance.

“Overcoming isolation is one of the main reasons why MAF team is here in this nation. It is a privilege to see that every flight really makes a difference and impacts to those who are in need of help,” he said.

The patient, who suffers from pulmonary disease, was successfully transferred from Atauro Island to the national hospital of Guido Valadares (HNGV) in Dili. He was recovering at the hospital but still needed specialist medical care.

“We are very grateful to MAF because they were able to transfer our son with their plane from Atauro to Dili, and at that time the ocean waves were hard, and we were not able to transfer by boat,” said Estevão Mouzinho, the patient’s father.

“But MAF really helped us in that difficult situation and successfully transferred our son to Dili, and we are very grateful for their help.” Estevão concluded.

Story by: Lobitos de Jesus Alves

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