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Nampa nonprofit delivers COVID-19 vaccines to remote African country

Mission Aviation Fellowship is helping to deliver vaccines to healthcare workers at remote clinics in Lesotho, a small mountainous country.

NAMPA, Idaho — Nampa-based nonprofit Mission Aviation Fellowship is helping to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to remote clinics in Lesotho, a small mountainous country surrounded by South Africa.

MAF is assisting the Lesotho Flying Doctor Service (LFDS) with the deliveries.

This week, MAF pilot Grant Strugnell flew a small Cessna plane with LFDS nurses and vaccines to clinics in Lebakeng and Kuebunyane to vaccinate community health care workers.

According to MAF, about 140 workers were vaccinated in Lebakeng and 60 in Kuebunyane with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been used exclusively in Lesotho.

Due to a limited supply of the vaccine, the Lesotho government has prioritized vaccinations for frontline health care workers and clinic staff as they work to acquire additional vaccines for the entire population.

"MAF is very grateful for the initiative shown by the government, and our close partner, the Lesotho Flying Doctors Service," Strugnell said in a news release. "They have done a great job in working out the logistics, and MAF has been very pleased to be able to assist with the transport to a few of the harder to reach clinics."

With decades of experience transporting vaccines, medical supplies, and medical personnel in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the Nampa nonprofit says it is ideally positioned to assist in "last-mile delivery" of COVID-19 vaccines.

One additional flight is planned for Lesotho later this week, depending upon the weather.

In February, MAF delivered vaccines to remote areas of Kalimantan, Indonesia. The organization expects to be involved in additional COVID-19 vaccine flights as vaccination programs roll out in the remote areas where MAF works.

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