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‘The sickness of malaria exists in hot places. We are living in a hot place here and we are not able to stop it. Often people just die from malaria.’
Sparki, Chair of Lapalama Health Centre
Lapalama – Papua New Guinea
According to Rotarians Against Malaria (RAM), 70% of deaths in PNG are caused by malaria. MAF flew to Lapalama twice in February 2023 to deliver 41 bales of mosquito nets to be distributed among the rural community as part of an ongoing partnership with RAM.
Spaki, Londe and Jerry describe their gratitude for the deliveries, and how malaria is affecting their lives.
Sparki believes mosquito nets will help fight malaria in rural PNG. Credit: Mandy Glass
Spaki, Lapalama Health Centre
‘My name is Sparki, and I am the Chairman of the Haus Sik (health centre) at Lapalama.
The sickness of malaria exists in hot places. We are living in a hot place here and we are not able to stop it.
Often people just die from malaria.
But when we get these nets – that really helps a lot. It’s really good for us to use these nets.
We take the nets to the health post, do a meeting, and distribute them to different clans and families.
We have many clans here – eight clans in total. We try to distribute them so people get one, but we might not have enough. I don’t know, we will do our best.’
Londe George says he is ‘proud’ to receive the delivery of mosquito nets. Credit: Mandy Glass
Londe George, Lapalama Health Centre
‘I am Londe George, working here at Lapalama health centre. I am proud to receive [these mosquito nets].
My people here at Lapalama will receive a net and they will sleep under mosquito nets, and now they will protect themselves from getting malaria.
So, I am very, very thanking Rotarians Against Malaria for organising this programme, and giving us mosquito nets in my area and not forgetting us. Also we thank MAF for transporting the bales of nets here to Lapalama.
Thank you all very much.’
MAF delivered 41 bales of mosquito nets to Lapalama on 21 February 2023. Credit: Mandy Glass
Jerry Rangel, Rotarians Against Malaria
‘My name is Jerry. I’m an officer of Rotarians Against Malaria. I was allocated to distribute nets here in Lapalama. I just arrived today, and I will be staying here for two weeks to do household surveys and distribute mosquito nets in and around the villages here.
Malaria – it’s dangerous, it kills, about 70% of people across PNG. So [RAM] takes this initiative to reduce deaths caused by malaria and we try our best to get into the remote areas to save those unfortunate ones and protect them from getting the disease.
Lapalama is an area where malaria is quite high. The nets are brought here and hope to reduce the rate of malaria and prevent future outbreaks.
We normally go around and train volunteers from villages surrounding Lapalama who do a survey and bring back the results. Then we go through and allocate nets and distribute them according to the population in each village.
On behalf of RAM, I’d like to say a word of thank you and appreciation to MAF for transporting the nets all the way from Mount Hagen to these people in Lapalama.’
Pastor Nat, MAF’s local agent for Lapalama, with his youngest grandchild helping to unload mosquito nets delivered by MAF. Credit: Mandy Glass
Deaths from malaria have begun to decline in PNG in recent years, but the country is still thought to have the highest incidence of the mosquito-borne disease in the Asia-Pacific region. Because of climate change, many of the higher, mountainous regions have seen temperatures increase and malaria is breaking out in new places; often those hardest to reach.
In 2022, MAF’s partnership with RAM reached more than 380 isolated communities in PNG with mosquito nets, delivering roughly 28,000 mosquito nets to 26 rural PNG airstrips.
Following the overwhelming success of the scheme, in early 2023, RAM and MAF have continued the partnership to deliver a further 400 bales (20,100 nets) to remote communities across the Enga, Simbu and Southern Highland Province regions.
From factories in China and India, across the Pacific Ocean, through the heart of PNG’s highlands at MAF’s Mount Hagen base, the nets are finally received by local health providers like Spaki from an MAF aircraft, having made an epic journey across thousands of miles to protect some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.
Nets like the one below at Mougulu clinic will help prevent the spread of malaria in remote parts of PNG. Credit: Jessica Hunt
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is the world’s largest humanitarian air operator. For over 75 years we have been flying light aircraft over jungles, mountains, swamps and deserts. We enable more than 2,000 aid, development and mission organisations to bring medical care, emergency relief and long-term development. Our pilots and personnel deliver relief workers, doctors, pastors, school books, food, medicines - everything that can only be safely and speedily delivered by air. Our faithful supporters give and pray to make this all possible.