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How flights help deliver essential medicines to remote areas

Story & Photos by Antsatiana Gino Randrianasolo

 Salama charters MAF planes in Madagascar to send life-saving supplies where they are needed most.

Essential medicines are reaching isolated communities across Madagascar because of a partnership with non-profit organisation Salama and MAF. The flights are delivering supplies used by health workers to treat illnesses, including malaria, in the most remote areas of the island nation. MAF recently flew four charter flights to Marolambo, bringing around two tonnes of medication, that would otherwise take heavy trucks around 15 days to reach. “There had never been a delivery to remote areas that was done in one day,” said Rova Rabemantsoa, Salamas’ Logistics Manager.

Salama is a non-profit association created in 1996 by the Malagasy Government with the support of international partners such as the European Union and World Bank. It operates under the technical supervision of the Ministry of Public Health. Its mission consists of ensuring the procurement of essential generic medicines, medical consumables and medical equipment at affordable prices for public health facilities and private non-profit organisations operating across Madagascar.

Without this, medical centres and doctors in remote areas would not have enough resources to treat patients. Yet, there is still more work to be done, ensuring that no one is left behind in their time of need. “Our wish is that our partnership with MAF continues and expand, praying that future airstrips in some remaining remote places allows this,” Rova said.

The beneficiaries of this reliable supply of medicines include patients at Community Health Centres in isolated regions. "Our medicine is the cheapest,” Rova added. “And we can say that these medications are within everyone's reach.”

Crucially, Salama’s collaboration with partners ensures that certain life-saving treatments, such as those for tuberculosis, AIDS, and malaria, are provided free of charge.

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