MAF has a contract with the Ministry of Health here in Ecuador. They pay for all air ambulance flying that we do in the jungle. This contract accounts for one third of all of our flying. Due to some budgetary problems, the government has run up a bill close to $90,000. That's a lot of flying that we've done and not been paid for. In the past the bill had been close to half of that amount and we've reduced the flying for Ministry of Health to life and death only. We've been in that mode for the last few weeks and still no payment. So, starting Monday, we will be suspending all air ambulance flying. We are hoping that this pressure will quickly force the government to find the funds needed to continue this critical work. The problem is the people that really pay are the indigenous folks with no way to pay for their own flights. You might think that we're being harsh, but we truly can not continue to fly with such an outstanding bill to be paid.
Please pray that the bill will be paid, so we can continue this important part of our work. Just to put things in perspective, we probably fly 1-2 snakebite victems every week, not to mention machete wounds, childbirth complications etc... PRAY!!!
Sadly, this is the only air ambulance photo I could find. This is from our first year here in Ecuador - 2002. Chad doesn't like to take pictures of people that are sick...because who wants their picture taken when they're sick?!