Timor-Leste Medevac: Four-year-old beats severe dengue fever

Genovio de Jesus dos Santos is a happy little boy who usually loves to play with his friends in the isolated community of Maliana. But a severe case of dengue fever left him seriously ill and in need of urgent hospital treatment in Timor-Leste’s capital Dili.

Faced with a tough road journey of three to four hours along mountainous roads, Genovio’s family were relieved when a MAF plane was sent to bring the four-year-old urgently to hospital.

The four-year-old is the youngest son of Alipio de Jesus dos Santos and Amelia de Jesus Vicente, and he has four siblings.

Genovio’s father said: “He had a severe fever for three days, and then we brought him to the referral hospital to be checked up, and the doctor informed us that he had been diagnosed with dengue and needed to be transferred to Dili.

“They informed us that he would be transferred by car ambulance, but later on they told us that he must be transferred by air ambulance because his condition was critical.”

Mr Santos described how he felt when he heard MAF would play a pivotal role in saving his son.

“We totally lost hope at that time because if he were transferred by car ambulance, he would lose his life,” he said.

“But when we heard that he would be transferred by air ambulance, he still had a chance to survive.

“On our way from the hospital to the airstrip, I started hearing aircraft coming, and as I looked up, I saw a MAF plane about to approach the airstrip. I told myself that God has sent us a hope through MAF to save our son.”

They stayed at the national hospital in Dili for couple of weeks to receive treatment for the mosquito-borne disease, before Genovio had recovered enough to be discharged.

Genovio has returned to Maliana, the main community in Bobonaro Municipality in the southwest of Timor-Leste, where he is back with his family and friends, and doing well.

“We are happy that he is discharged from the hospital in good condition, and we thanked God that he has answered our prayers through MAF,” Mr Santos said.

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