Lesotho and Comoros are the only two countries in Africa that still don’t have any COVID-19 cases. But since Lesotho is nested within South Africa, which has around 5,000 cases of coronavirus, the small mountain nation is bracing for a potential pandemic influx.
“We haven’t done as much testing as would be preferred,” says Matthew Monson, manager of Mission Aviation Fellowship Lesotho. “South Africa is sort of our temperature gauge of what is going on in Lesotho, and South Africa was having definitely some explosive cases where things were expanding and growing so they went into lockdown. Shortly after that, Lesotho followed.”
Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has the country on lockdown until May 5 and deployed the military to “restore order” in the capital, Maseru. The government also plans to release mass coronavirus screening and testing in high-risk areas.
MAF serves Lesotho by flying into remote areas with medical, physical, and spiritual aid. A big part of MAF’s work in the country includes the Lesotho Flying Doctor Service which supports clinics and hospitals in hard-to-reach areas, mostly by shuttling doctors and nurses to and from these locations.
Due to the current lockdown, MAF has suspended normal day-to-day flight operations.
MAF pilot Grant Strugnell explains, “We’d love to be flying out every day to take nurses from the city into the mountains. But we’ve also just got to stop ourselves and think what harm that could do if we’re taking infected people out to these villages where it could be a village of 100 people or something that would never be infected if it wasn’t for people coming from the outside.”
However, Monson says they are still flying code ones, “which is a medical emergency — someone that a lot of times could be a pregnant woman who’s in labor and that’s not going as planned. So we’re able to take them from a facility that doesn’t have the necessary equipment or ability and transport them quickly to a facility that can care for them.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray for protection and health for MAF in Lesotho.
- Ask God to give Lesotho leaders wisdom.
- Pray for MAF’s ministry and faithfulness to lead others to Christ.