On a Wednesday, Helimission was contacted for a medical emergency flight in the Southwest of Madagascar. It was for a pregnant midwife who was expecting her first child and now had complications in the 30th week of pregnancy.
It wasn’t only the tiny baby who was at risk; the mother herself could have been in a potentially life-threatening situation. The only place in Madagascar that is equipped for such cases is the “Mobile Help Madagascar Center” in the capital. The problem was that the pregnant woman reacted very sensitively to bumps and movement, so a full-day transport on the road was out of the question. That is why an air rescue was the only possibility.
While I was making the flight preparations, I realized that it was practically impossible to carry out the evacuation on a single day, because the distance one way was 720km (447mi). This meant that we would have to spend the night in the southwest of the island and fly the patient out the next morning. Due to Covid regulations, it has become much more complicated to organize flights. For example, each passenger and pilot must have a negative rapid test before the flight can begin.
Shortly after midday, we had all of the necessary permits together and could finally start the long flight. Tanja, the manager of “Mobile Help Madagascar”, and a doctor accompanied me on this flight. After two fuel stops, we finally landed at the desired location shortly before dark. Tanja and the doctor immediately went to the patient to examine her condition.
Early the next morning, I prepared the helicopter, and just as the sun peeped over the horizon, the medical team arrived at the helicopter with the patient. We took off only minutes later. Naturally, we were all a bit on edge and we hoped and prayed that the child and the mother would handle the flight well and that no complications would arise. After about an hour’s flight, the patient was not feeling well and we prayed again for everything to go well. After a fuel stop, thanks to special permission from the government aviation authorities, we finally landed at 11:00 am directly at the “Mobile Help Madagascar Center”. The patient was carefully lifted out of the helicopter and carried straight into the center. We were all happy and thankful that everything had gone well up to that point. A few days later, a healthy baby girl was born and both the mother and the child are doing well.