Doctors, nurses, medical supplies and equipment including an ultrasound machine were all loaded onto the plane for the flight. Waiting for them in the remote community were lines of hopeful patients.
'We always look forward for partnership with MAF because it's a big help for us, big help for Malagasy people!' Dr Fernand
They came from villages to the west of the hospital, walking for hours to wait in line. 'If the clinic didn't come here, we wouldn't have any other solution but to wait,' explained one local woman, whose daughter Liny is amongst the patients waiting to be seen. 'But when the clinic is here, we can get some help.'
Dr. Jae Hoon Lee estimates the medical team has treated around 37,000 patients in 42 communities so far, staying between 5-10 days in each place.
The days are often long, with a steady stream of patients seeking help. 'We can start from 8.30am and work until 3.00 in the morning,' explains Dr. Fernand Ramahalison, 'If there is too much surgery, we can do surgeries by night.'
11-year-old Liny came to the mobile clinic two years ago complaining of pain in her abdomen. Today the team operated on the little girl to remove a mass the size of a grapefruit. After surgery, she is carried to a recovery room. 'This clinic is important for the people because they save us,' shares Liny's mum. 'If there were no doctors, I don't know what we'd do. I don't know what would have happened. I am thankful because we receive something very precious.'
Dr. Lee expanded on the wider impact that access to better health services provides. 'After MAF came the people started to understand their health, their lifestyle, their children's education. The first time when we arrived there, only two or three students studied at the school. Now there are more than two hundred!'
'We always look forward to partnering with MAF because it's a big help for us, big help for Malagasy people!' said Dr. Fernand.
'Every time we go to rural areas with MAF, I found how much MAF contributes to this country. How much they collaborate well with other organisation and the local people. Without MAF's help, it cannot happen,' Dr. Lee concluded.
'After MAF came the people started to understand their health, their lifestyle, their children's education. The first time when we arrived there, only two or three students studied at the school. Now there are more than two hundred!' Dr Lee