Medical evacuation from Hewa, Papua New Guinea

Michael Duncalfe recently flew an MAF medical evacuation flight for Saitilam Matyu, a woman in Papua New Guinea.

She had safely delivered a baby the day before but the placenta had been retained. Left untreated, a retained placenta is fatal within a few days.  Navigating around poor weather, Michael Duncalfe flew to Hewa to collect her, and reports on the flight:

‘On the way there the weather improved and Hewa airstrip, not far from the big Porgera gold mine, was in bright sunshine.

Saitilam was brought to the aeroplane. Although able to walk she was in obvious discomfort, her abdomen considerably swollen. Her little baby was in a bilum [carried on her back], the woven string bags that are ubiquitous in Papua New Guinea. Her husband, Matyu, and older child were accompanying her.

Saitilam had requested to be taken to Porgera, as the mine has good medical facilities. I took off for the 10 minute flight to Kairik, the airstrip that serves the Porgera mine.

Retained placenta, Hewa medivac by Michael Duncalfe PNG

Saitilam and Matyu only had fares for the flight between Hewa and Kairik. The distance from Hewa to Kairik is only 23 miles, but in order to do the medivac I had to fly 69 miles from Kompiam to Hewa and back again. With bad weather en route, the flight time was considerably more than a direct flight would have been.'

As the remote community had no means of paying for the cost of the plane in order to get Saitilam to medical help, the amount was covered through our supporters' donations. MAF supporters were vital in enabling MAF to save Saitilam's life. If you would like to give the general work of MAF, please click here.

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