Supporting Women in Labour in Timor Leste

Story by Lobitos de Jesus Alves


In March 2022, MAF medically evacuated 20 patients in Timor-Leste. Three of the patients were women in labour.


Jose da Silva, a patient's husband, expressed his gratitude to MAF. “[My wife] was in labour, so the nurses and midwives decided to transfer her to the national hospital in Dili for further medical attention, and we immediately flew with MAF planes. We arrived in Dili in 15 minutes. I am grateful to MAF for safely transporting us and providing excellent facilities on our flights from Atauro to Dili.” He further explains, “We are thankful to MAF for their contributions to our country, particularly in medical emergency evacuation, and we hope that MAF can continue to operate in collaboration with our government and professional medics in the future, to assist people who require medical assistance. We greatly appreciate the presence of MAF that allows flight operations to serve our people through medevacs.”


Since 2007, MAF has played an important role in Timor-Leste, collaborating with the Ministry of Health to provide medical evacuation assistance to isolated people around the territories. MAF’s mission is serving together to bring help, hope and healing through aviation, and this is exactly what MAF is currently doing in Timor-Leste.


Ermenegildo Pereira, a nurse who works for the national ambulance service, shares his experiences about flying with MAF. He says, “I felt nervous when I flew on an aircraft for the first time in my life. But afterwards, I was able to deal with the situation because I got many chances to fly medevacs with MAF aircraft. I have flown with MAF several times, and we’ve evacuated the patients around 12 municipalities in Timor-Leste, including the special administrative region, Oecusse.” He further explains, “Before MAF began their operations in Timor-Leste, we faced several challenges, including lack of medical evacuation equipment, difficulty driving on rough roads, and a long distance to transport people from rural areas to the national hospital (HNGV). However, MAF’s presence in Timor-Leste helps us a lot in providing medical evacuation flights for our people in emergency situations.”


João da Cruz, the husband of another patient in labour says, “It is a great pleasure to be served by MAF, and they have done a lot of work for the Timorese by helping to transfer people from rural areas connected to the city, especially for medevacs. [My wife] gave birth to twin babies, and she is recuperating, but one of the babies is still in the hospital, while the other has already been discharged. Moreover, our flight from Oecusse to Dili was very good, and we received excellent services by MAF team. I could not imagine how it would be if MAF would not operate in Timor-Leste! it would be difficult for us in urgent situations.” He finishes, “We hope that MAF will continue its mission in Timor-Leste in the future because many people still need MAF’s assistance, and may God bless MAF mission in our beloved country.”

A medevac by boat or car or both would take several hours and include several challenges, such as long distance on rough roads. A MAF flight typically take 15 to 45 minutes from Dili and no more than an hour. This helps us save people’s lives. In the first quarter of 2022, MAF medevaced 68 patients in Timor-Leste.

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