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Courtesy of MAF
Courtesy of MAF
UK News

Christian charity flying high distributing vaccines among the world's poorest communities

by Chantalle Edmunds

A Christian charity, which spreads the Good News, is flying Covid vaccines into overseas communities, with four countries reached so far.

Mission Aviation Fellowship, known as MAF, have used aviation and technology for the last 75 years. The charity brings the Gospel of Jesus Christ to remote communities along with medical supplies and educational opportunities.

Dave Fyock, CEO for MAF international based in Kent, told Premier: "We use light aircraft to reach into remote places. So our vision is to see isolated people changed by the love of Christ. And we use airplanes to do that."

Some of the charity's aeroplanes are now kitted out with the means of transporting the Covid vaccine: "I know that in Madagascar, it was an Indian version of the vaccine. It really then depends on which vaccine comes as to what our part will be and how we play. So as you know, the vaccines require a cold chain for the distribution. But those vary greatly from Pfizer, which requires a very deep cold chain, to your Russian, Indian and Chinese versions that do not require as cold a temperature," Fyock said.

He went to explain the logistical difficulties of making sure vaccines reach enough people: 

"We operate in in 27 countries with aircraft in those locations. And we work within whatever the government is doing in that country. So we have only delivered vaccines in four countries at this point. All the other countries may have had vaccines arrive in some of the larger cities, but they're not reaching out into the remote populations yet. So we're prepared to fly but we've actually to date only flown in four countries."

"You probably are familiar with the with the acronym COVAX which is part of the UN's process for distributing to the 92 poorest countries in the world. And if you read their information, it will be into the middle of next year to a number of countries actually have received any meaningful amounts of vaccines," he added.

As to how Christians can help when it comes to vaccine distribution, Fyock said "first and foremost all of us can pray."

"And so as we pray for this world to pray that God will allow us to play a significant role in actually getting the vaccines where they are needed. So that's one. Secondly, the effects of COVID are long term. So while we in the West, still have full stomachs and we look for the vaccine to be the end all solution. Actually, in many countries, the ongoing effects of COVID lockdowns mean that people are going hungry, that there is more need than ever, in terms of poor people not having the food or the medical supplies or even the education. I know a number of schools in Papa New Guinea that have had to close, because they could not have the supplies that they needed to feed students, because of various lockdowns in the country. 

"So that's one way, giving to us is another way, the work that we do, as you know, flying on airplanes is never cheap. You know, if it was we would all own our own airplanes, right? And so being a part of the ministry through sending donations to MAF is just a beautiful way to partner with us."

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