Missionary Air Group has recently expanded its medical aviation services to Africa by forging a strategic partnership with “Aviation Médicale de Bongolo” (AMB). Operating since 2008 under the stewardship of Air Calvary, another US-based non-profit, the AMB program and Cessna aircraft will now move forward as part MAG.
Founder and project manager Steve Straw has operated AMB for 7 years in the west-African country of Gabon. AMB’s mission is to support medical and humanitarian aid through the use of aircraft, with the program also implementing the country’s first air ambulance service for its partner Bongolo Hospital. This remote jungle hospital is the project of the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) of Gabon and treats over 40,000 patients annually. Without the use of a plane, they would be unable to obtain needed medical supplies or quickly transport staff and patients.
AMB operates one Cessna 207 aircraft (photos below), which is flown and maintained by chief pilot Rob Peterson, who is on loan from SIL-Cameroon (JAARS). The aircraft is most frequently used to transport equipment, personnel and medicines critical to the care of patients. It has also been used to support bible translation, mobile medical clinics, community health and evangelistic endeavors.
Averaging approximately 200 flight hours a year over the past 3 years, AMB’s work in Gabon is making a significant difference. Last year, AMB completed 156 staff transports, 10 medical patient flights, and delivered 26,950 pounds of cargo and 3,091 pounds of medications. As the only dedicated medical air transport operation in the region, AMB well positioned to serve the entire country of Gabon with a population of 1.8 million people. It will become MAG’s first African base.