Lesotho — At dawn, pilot Matthew Monson prepares for a busy day with a final check on his little plane.He will spend flying medical professionals at the forefront of fighting it Coronavirus pandemic To the most remote part of Lesotho, a small country in Africa.
The towering mountains and deep river valleys, called the “Kingdom of the Mountains” for good reason, make it incredibly difficult to reach many parts of Lesotho.
Therefore, the work done by the Lesotho Flying Doctor Service is very important.Everything is in the country, thanks in part to the donations from the United States Vaccine dose The entire adult population had to be inoculated, but getting them was only the first challenge. Now it has to deliver them to people.
“They understand the importance of getting vaccinated and are ready to get vaccinated, but sometimes the challenge is how to reach them,” Dr. Justin Sirsiya told CBS News. Told. After years of fighting HIV and other illnesses as a medical officer in charge of Flying Doctor Services, Cishiya is now focused on preventing the fourth wave of COVID-19 from hitting Lesotho.
The Flying Doctor serves 11 isolated clinics in poor countries. They aim to visit each clinic twice a month, as weather permits, but often not.The government-run flight doctor unit is backed by a Christian charity Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). Together, we provide medical services and emergency care to communities that are completely inaccessible on the road.
On the day we visited, MAF pilot Monson, who was from Seattle and has been flying in Lesotho for years, said the weather conditions were perfect.
The first stop was in the village of Lebakeng. Only five people appeared on the shot. One of them was 69-year-old Kapetjana Maphondo. He said it took two hours to walk to the clinic to see a flying doctor. But for him, it was worth it to get a jab that could save his life.
Some people have to cross mountains and rivers to get to the clinic. The villages are miles away and donkeys are the most common mode of transportation for those lucky enough to own a donkey.
The next destination was Mana Manen. Bad weather often made it impossible to fly, but another obstacle on the day CBS News arrived prevented the plane from landing. There were too many sheep on the runway and the first landing attempt had to be stopped.
Even if that obstacle was removed, the job of the team was still not easy.
“Once we got there, it wasn’t easy to vaccinate everyone in the clinic,” Cishiya told us. “We have to move to the village to find people from their homes.”
Cishiya and his team will vaccinate people and make door-to-door canvassing. However, you cannot walk far on rugged terrain. By the end of the day, flying doctors had inoculated only a handful of people. Like so many remote parts of Africa, the pace of vaccination is ridiculously slow.
Lesotho has only about 2.1 million inhabitants, but less than 14% have been vaccinated so far. This is a much better rate than many other African countries, but similar logistical challenges and supply shortages are hampering the promotion of vaccination. According to data compiled by the World Health Organization, 26 African countries have not yet been first attacked, even at 4% of their population.
By comparison, in the United States, almost 55% of the population is fully vaccinated.
And wealthy nationsAfrica remains at risk from the looming fourth wave of infection, with more deaths It comes with it.
Cishiya said the Lesotho Flying Doctor Service plans to send teams to hard-to-reach communities more regularly. But he is well aware that in Africa, achieving President Joe Biden’s goal of vaccination of 70% of the world’s population within a year “can be a real challenge.” ..
Monson agrees on the cockpit view at the forefront of the war with COVID.
“We need more help and more support, whether it’s funding or personnel to keep the vaccine running,” Monson told CBS News. “Sure, without support, you wouldn’t reach that number in a year or two.”
The fight against COVID in Africa requires more than a vaccine. It requires “flying doctors”, and even they need help.
Source link The fight against COVID in Africa requires more than a vaccine. It requires “flying doctors”, and even they need help.
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