Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

Rural workers rely on air service

Regardless of the restricted flights due to PNG’s current fuel crisis, Tekin Primary School in West Sepik Province received an MAF charter flight containing 902 kilograms of food supplies for the community’s school teachers and health workers.

Erick Yakz, from the school’s Board of Management, said the delivery was essential to supporting the key workers in their remote community, which is unreachable by road.

MAF reconnects with churches

The poor state of the airstrips in the East Sepik and Sandaun provinces has been a reason for concern for MAF. The airstrips' condition has deteriorated over time due to a lack of funding and maintenance.

MAF PNG General Manager for Aviation and Senior Pilot, Brad Venter said if an airstrip becomes unsafe, MAF has to cease flying there.

Recently, MAF ministry team spent a week touring Sandaun, East Sepik and Madang provinces to learn more about the challenges church leaders face in their communities and to offer help. 

Re-usable pads to help remote girls

The Telefomin Secondary School has about 500 students of which one-third are girls, about 180.

In March, Siobhain Cole from MAF ran the first workshop for 27 grade 12 girls and 5 female teachers. The workshop aimed to provide re-usable sanitary kits, easing their burdens and worries during their final year of school.

MAF strengthens links with PNG Churches

For many pastors, it was a chance to renew old connections with MAF and to learn more about the work of MAF Technologies, formerly known as the Christian Radio Missionary Fellowship (CRMF).

Caine Ruruk, MAF Technologies Ministry Partnership Officer and organiser of the trip, said it was valuable to renew MAF's relationship with church leaders as well as to explain that MAF Technologies was the updated name of the former CRMF.

Health support through radio

Deputy workshop manager Julian Wolf and MAF Technician Steven Zota, are part of a team bringing radio communication to the Wasengla Health post in the West Sepik Province, to enable contact with other health service providers and government establishments.

The Deputy Director for the Public Health Service in Vanimo, Symphorian Sumun, described the challenge of working in such isolation.

MAF urged to return to AROB

Church and government leaders of AROB reached out to MAF for aviation services due to the challenges posed by isolation and urged MAF to consider returning to a region where it last flew an aircraft in 1975.

Bible Boxes bring joy

The Guavi people in Western Province were excited to receive bibles from MAF. Pilots Renee Brewer and Corne Noordhoek, said the people are always beaming with happiness when they receive something as interesting as these bible boxes.

Bridging the gap in remote areas

Mission Aviation Fellowship in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has helped overcome some of these challenges.

A Community Health Worker (CHW) at the Telefomin district hospital, Ephraim Urunok emphasized the inconvenience of reaching these villages by foot and spoke about the dependence on such partnerships with MAF.

 "There are no other options, like cars and roads, or waterways to catch a boat, they don’t exist. Therefore, we only have MAF to be able to do that kind of (health patrol) work here in the Telefomin District.

MAF technologies help restore power at rural hospital

The hospital’s solar power system failed seven years ago and midwives here have been delivering babies under the glow of mobile phones and torches.

The arrival of babies at most times comes at the wee hours of the night, sending mothers and midwives into a mud rush, scrambling for light and water.

A local midwife at Telefomin Rural Hospital, Judith Charles, shares that her job gets difficult when there are no lights. She has no choice but to resort to the use of a mobile phone and torchlights.

Float planes to service Western Province

A team surveyed potential landing sites for a plan to improve health care for isolated communities in PNG’s Western Province.

According to MAF, preparations are currently underway to bring a float plane to PNG to make health patrols into the wetland areas easier.

MAF PNG Interim Country Director, Doug Miles, said; “We’re making available a different platform to deliver in areas where we cannot get a land-based aircraft”.