Father and newborn saved by medevac in Papua New Guinea

After a successful birth at Kompiam Hospital, Papua New Guinea, a family of three contracted life-threatening diseases when trekking back through the jungle to their home village.

Story by Tajs Jespersen

It took Samuel, Kelin and Bani three weeks to walk from Yambaitok airstrip back to their village of Kaiam.

“We started walking for three weeks carrying food and supplies and it was heavy, and we were carrying our child too,” said Samuel, the father of one month old Bani.

The family had hoped to fly back to their home village of Kaiam, but heavy rainfall had made the airstrip unsafe and it had been closed indefinitely. Not knowing when they could fly home, they decided to fly to Yambaitok and walk from there to Kaiam.

“During the walk, Samuel and Bani fell ill with suspected tuberculosis (TB). Bani became so weak that he couldn’t breastfeed,” said Dr. Camy Thomas, who is a dentist at Kompiam hospital.

Samuel recalls the bad condition he and his family were in when arriving back to Kaiam.

“I felt weak and I lost weight because of the hard walk. My child too was feeling sick. He was badly out of breath,” said Samuel.

In Kaiam, the family had very limited access to treatment and their conditions were not improving.

“And so it happened that we sent our next medical team around that time to Kaiam,” said Camy.

Samuel and Bani’s conditions had worsened terribly when the health patrol arrived.

“They came and brought me to the clinic in Kaiam and our child too to stay for one day. They put a drip on my son and on me too,” said Samuel. “My eye was very bad. My body, my head, arms, legs were shaking in pain and fear. I was so sick. The men in the village put us in the MAF plane and it took us back to Kompiam.”

The two are now staying at Kompiam Hospital together with mom Kelin, where they have fully recovered. The family awaits a chance to fly back to Kaiam with MAF and when given the opportunity to say thank you, Samuel did not hesitate.

“If there was no MAF I would have been dead now,” said Samuel. “But we have MAF and they saved my life. I praise God for protecting me together with my family.”

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