Story by Tracey Feil. Photos by John Feil.
Fanfina had suffered a heart attack at her home and specialist care was required but the hospital that could provide this was more than 600km away, here in the Chadian capital N’Djamena . Preparations were made to get the aircraft ready and paperwork in place so that pilot Becki could make the 1.5-hour trip to collect the patient.
John Feil, acting ops manager, accompanied pilot Becki Dillingham on the flight. He described the route: ‘The flight track followed the Logone River that forms the border with Cameroon, a very useful ground navigation aid in the deteriorating unseasonable weather.’
On the ground in Moundou, Fanfina and her son boarded the plane. Her husband asked Becki, ‘Please, take good care of her.’ Pilot Becki could see his loving concern and offered him a seat on the flight so he could travel with his wife. But he had to refuse – as a doctor himself, there were people he had to take care of in Moundou.
With the patient as comfortable as possible, TT-BER departed with heavy rain to the East and followed the river North back to N’Djamena. The road from Moundou to N’Djamena is very bad in places, especially the last 300km stretch into the capital. Becki says, ‘You can even see some of the potholes from the air they are that big!’ It would take a whole day to drive in a good vehicle. The doctors were clear - Fanfina did not have that time available.
Because of the MAF flight, in under two hours she was receiving the vital care she needed in a hospital in N’Djamena. Three weeks later, Fanfina’s husband, Memadji happily reports that his wife has been discharged from hospital. Keen to express his gratitude to MAF and all those that support MAF, he says, ‘She [My wife] is alive today thanks to this rapid evacuation and effective care. Thank you.’