Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Photo of the week, March 28th

Work on the Torgome Irrigation Project, just North of the Kpong Dam site, has been advancing well, however the recent rains will surely add to the challenges of 'mud management'! The progress on the work is impressive, and it will be a great boon to the local economy, if all goes according to plan. It is good to see several agricultural projects already bedding in around the site. Let us hope that it is a sustainable project, and that a suitable educative/preventive approach to Schistosomiasis, and associated challenges associated with such projects, is put in place to protect folks who may be at risk, depending upon their activities. Photo Courtesy of Medicine on the Move,

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26th, 2012

Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. Yaw

Ask a pilot ‘When did you first fly in the cockpit of an aircraft?’ and, for the most part, you will witness the biggest smile on their face, and light in their eyes, as they recount a memory that triggered something deep inside of them. It may have lay dormant for a while in some, but in the vast majority it burst into life with the energy of a supernova, exploding in their depths, triggered by the voluntary, controlled and sensation-rich removal from contact with terra-firma!

Ask them the registration of that aircraft and they will trip it off their tongues, as if it were yesterday! G-AWUN was the registration of mine. It was a Sunday afternoon. It was almost magical. Actually, I think it was almost spiritual. OK, it was so totally amazing. In fact, nearly a quarter of a century later, the emotion of the memory grabs me and flows through me as if it were yesterday. I sat there, looking out the front, seeing the world in a new way. A way that looking out the side window of an airliner can never simulate nor stimulate. It changed me. It energised me. It was a defining moment in my life. It is a treasured, oft visited, memory. In fact it has been a part of my thinking ever since. That was in 1988. However, I did not start working full-time with aircraft until 2006! Making the change to work full-time with aircraft resulted in a major cut in earnings, but that matters not – for I have the disease called ‘aviation-itis’. I have a full blown case of it. Those who hang around me may find that they catch it and spread it too, if they are lucky.

In fact, I must admit to actively exposing others, and hope to infect as many as possible with full-blown aviation-itis. Fortunately, for me, and those who I get to fly, I have some wonderful opportunities to spread the infection – and some outstandingly willing subjects!

Working in the Humanitarian Aviation arena, I am honoured to be a part of the annual ‘Fly Me Day’ run by Medicine on the Move. Children from the rural villages are brought to the airfield and given a circuit in the cockpit of a built-in-Ghana aircraft. The selected children line-up, they wait their turns and then the step into the cockpit. They participate from the pointy-end, with all the knobs and whistles, in a circuit of discovery. Launched into the air by just eighty horses, all bridled together in a four-cylinder, lightweight aircraft engine from the Rotax Aircraft Engine plant in Austria. All these eighty horses need to eat is some good quality Super motor car fuel (we use Total Effimax Super), and some appropriate automotive engine oil (we use Shell Helix). These engines love to run in the heat of Ghana, and to fill the African sky with young people who yearn to achieve more. Their wish is our desire, and together we transform aspiration into reality.

With a cast of marshals, pilots, first-aid personnel, health educators, photographers and other helpers, the show ground at Kpong was already teeming with life by 06:15. Four aircraft, all built in Ghana and two of them flown by trained in Ghana, Ghanaian pilots, seemingly lined up to commence the West African equivalent of a ‘re-enactment of the Berlin Airlift’.

Seconds after each of the four-at-a-time first-time flyers were strapped in, the four planes took off in a line. The volunteer pilots flew each aspirant out on a large circuit and back to land – all four planes landing, and rolling-out directly to their take off positions. I flew the fourth aircraft and got to watch the take-offs and landings keenly – especially since I had to land in less than 150m each time, as the final plane to land, shutting down the engine as I rolled out a few metres behind the tail of the third aircraft.

This event was sponsored by WAASPS, Pemberton Aerosports and Millward Brown the ‘brand specialists’. The support from the relatively new player to Ghana in the brand arena was welcome, and I must say that the presence of their MD on the flight line encouraging the children and interacting with them, with his own children by his side was spectacular. Conjure up this image with me for a moment… the MD of a major international company running around in the heat of the day, accompanied by his wife and kids, sharing the moment of discovery, and making it all the more special. We also had senior staff from the oil, mining, construction, hospitality and other industries come along and lend very active hands (one bringing gifts for all the children too!). It is a wonderful part of the Light Aviation movement in Ghana, that we are able to join hands in sharing the joy of flight, regardless of socio-economic background, regardless of colour, creed or gender, regardless of language or physical ability/disability.

Aviation is for everybody. We can all share it. After all it is the second most popular outdoor spectator sport in the UK, after football! For me the pleasure lies in the faces of the participants on a day like ‘Fly Me Day’. As one helper on the day wrote on the Medicine on the Move blog site ‘It was great to see all the students lining up to take their turns in the cockpit. All well behaved and with slightly serious faces reflecting the trepidation they must have felt. Totally natural bearing in mind that they were about to experience something that the vast majority of the world never will. The face on the students after they had landed was fantastic. I never realised you could get so many teeth in one head.’

Another wrote, ‘ After the flight in the fleet of airplanes flying around the circuit in a precisely coordinated formation, and as the kids were led back from the runway by the ever-efficient and highly disciplined girls from the AvTech Academy, one could clearly see the excitement, joy and spontaneous smiles on their young faces. For most of them, coming from the neighbouring rural communities, it must have been the highlight of their lives so far, and this adventure of flying will not be forgotten for a long time to come.’

It is clear that the visiting helpers took away amazingly pleasurable memories, from sharing the pleasure and energising those who otherwise may never get a chance to experience such a moment, and will also talk about their participation in Fly Me Day for a long time to come too!

When did you and your children last share a moment of discovery that transcended the boundaries of socio-economic variations? If you do not have a moment bursting out of your memories right now, in full vibrancy, then it is time for you to seek out that moment again… if you have never done such a thing – work out how to make it happen. I am fortunate enough to work in an environment where it is a weekly, if not daily, experience – and it energises my whole being. Go. Seek. Do. Without delay. It will change you, your children and your outlook, for the better!

Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics ( e-mail

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Photo of the week, March 21st

As a part of the Schistosomiasis outreach programmes in Manya Krobo District, the WAASPS, Millward Brown and private donation sponsored 'Fly Me Day' at Kpong, this year focused on children and their Queen Mothers from the affected district. 127 children were privileged to enjoy the taste of flight in the cockpit, whilst gaining inspiration, knowledge and health education. Sadly the weather prevented the Queen Mothers themselves taking a flight, but they were happy to see their wards enjoy an experience of a lifetime. Here we see the Medicine on the Move CH701 aircraft, backed by the crowd of children. This aircraft, together with three other aircraft, last Saturday morning launched into the skies, 'Changing Lives, One Flight at a Time'. Photo Courtesy of Medicine on the Move

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19th, 2012

Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. Yaw

This past two weeks has seen me on an international trip, by airliner. But before we explore the sentiments of some of those recent airline movements, a follow up on last week’s column!

The First National Schistosomiasis Forum at Akosombo, on the 15th March 2012, will, I am sure, go down in history as THE moment when Ghana declared outright, unabashed war on the parasite that is present, and in many cases stifling development, to varying degrees across the whole country. The guest speaker from the World Health Organisation made a poignant speech; making it clear that modern society knew exactly how to eradicate this disease, but was struggling to do so. Why? Accessibility! Several speakers came and went making cases for pathology, past-activities, proposals, etc. – and all agreed that access to ALL the communities, ALL the pockets of habitation, ALL the people, and especially ALL the children, would be key to a successful outcome. The combined knowledge of this disease, coupled with the combined operational expertise from organisations from the width-and-breadth of Ghana, and beyond, made the room vibrate with competence, hindered only by lack of funding and related accessibility solutions.

The concept of reaching the communities by road is great, only if they have roads, water is also good, for those known accessible communities at the shoreline. However, we all agreed that there are insufficient roads, water access and even no good maps. Consequently the innovative use of aerial reconnaissance, coupled with health education delivery systems, was found to be essential and integral to the proposed plan of action for the coming years.

I was proud to see the Ghanaian leadership roles – for this is an INTERNALLY initiated programme, LED, teamed and programmed as a NATIONAL project. Of course, the internationally groups are there, but the difference is that this programme is DRIVEN by the local content and supported by the international, not the usual ‘other-way-around’!

So, for me it is wonderful to see that Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, NADMO and other national organisations have actively co-operated with local independent organisations to ensure that the solution to the BIG problem of accessibility is also solved, monitored and approved using local, available resources.

Using the ‘bag- and bottle-drop’ techniques, developed in Ghana, the communities around the Volta will now be able to receive health education materials, with a focus on Schistosomiasis – in a timely and effective manner. The first community to join forces on this method of communication and health education roll-out, is the Upper Manya Krobo District, who, in collaboration with the Traditional Council, represented through the Queen Mother’s Association, of the area signed an MOU with Medicine on the Move to commence the aerial outreach in the coming days.

It is wonderful to see effective outcomes, especially so quickly, as a result of a conference or forum. So many workshops simply do not appear to have outcomes of a tangible nature in a realistic timeframe. I commend Professor Kwabena Bosompem and his teams, and thank VRA for their support for the launch of this initiative. I also assure you that I will update on the flights and their outcomes of this initiative in the coming months.

So, back to travelling with the bigger birds! I really do not like travelling in the airliners, and so, when routing to Munich recently, I was a bit apprehensive. It is simple, I really don’t like the airport experience, the airliner experience and the security check experience – and most of all, I detest being a passenger – I want to be at the sharp end!

KLM was the line of ‘best-value’ for this trip. Starting at Kotoka, the KLM experience was cool. We had checked in on-line, already selected seats, and had only carry-on. So, over to the line to be greeted by one of KIA’s icons. ‘The KLM-Gentle-but-Firm-Giant’ – if you have travelled KLM in the past 20 years, out of Kotoka, you know him! He used to wear a big blue boiler suit, topped with his short-cropped hair and broad grin. Ready to ‘off-load’ as needed any bag that fails the KLM test. Today, he wears a smart waistcoat, and has some ‘salt and pepper’, or perhaps ‘light frosting’ on his close-cropped hair. I rarely travel by KLM, yet I know this man by sight, and every time I travel, I get asked ‘are you flying KLM?’, and that, in this case, was an ‘affirmative’. Twenty seconds later we were cleared, passports checked and straight up to the boarding gate. Faster than any other check-in, and with bigger smiles!

The MD11 is a great aircraft, and the new interior fittings on KLM are smart and airy, it felt as if we were on in a spacious movie house, more than aboard an aircraft. Airline trips are only interesting for the take-off and landing components. The rest is incredibly boring. I need to see out of the window – watch the visible ‘dangly-bits of flight’ (flaps, slats, etc), and see the terrain. The landing in Schiphol was incredibly smooth, perhaps aided by the early morning calmness, but still a work of art!

Sadly the leg to Munich, on the Fokker 100, was not so good. The passenger next to me, across the aisle, had no sense of safety. A Caucasian woman, in her late twenties, well dressed – perhaps a little too much make-up, and with a combination of tight skirt and three-storey-shoes that would kill her in an emergency… if she had not killed herself and others already through lack of ability to listen and understand instructions – that is to receive relevant education and to act upon it.

As we were taxiing out onto the runway, she decided to undo her seat-belt, stand up and talk to the person several rows ahead. The cabin crew were already strapped in, the aircraft twenty degrees turned to the runway, and they could only announce over the intercom ‘Madam, please sit down and fasten your seat-belt’.

Miss ‘High-Heels-with-an-Attitude’ decided to ignore the call. I looked at her, I looked at the Cabin Crew member and sharply stated ‘Sit down NOW.’ The aircraft aligned with the runway. I added, louder ‘SIT DOWN – WE ARE ROLLING’. I am not sure whether she understood or not, but she sat, pouted, nearly cried at being sharply spoken to and whimpered ‘There was no need to shout’. The rest of the flight was uneventful, except for the hurt looking woman sitting across from me frowning at me and sending ‘bad wishes’ in my direction. I put it all down to lack of education – somehow she had missed the education, and potentially jeopardised the lives of others.

It is all too easy to see a situation and do nothing about it – whether that is related to Schistosomiasis (a disease that can be eradicated through education) or a ‘lacking-in-education co-passenger’, but at the end of the day, we all need to take the actions that our minds, steered by our hearts, lead our mouths to express, and then to make it happen. For we are all connected… like it or not… and if we do not, then it really can affect all of us – perhaps taking lives with it!

Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics ( e-mail

Friday, March 16, 2012

Preparing for fly me day

The girls today, were heavily involved with the prep work for fly me day tomorrow.

They will be responsible for bringing passengers to the four different planes that will be doing the flights.

they will also be having some interviews from the media that will be present for example, Routers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Photo of the week, March 14th

Tomorrow, March 15th 2012, marks a major milestone in Ghana, the First National Schistosomiasis Forum to be held at Akosombo, where the future of these and many other affected people in Ghana will be the focal point... providing education, treatment and reducing the risks of infection/re-infection, battling the second most socio-economic devastating parasitic disease in Ghana, together... Avoidance and prevention is, in theory, simple; stay out of contact with infected water and avoid your own 'toilet activities' reaching the water. The practice is not so easy when this is the only source for drinking, washing, bathing, cooking and there are few planned toilet facilities... These children and the many like them across the nation, must be brought into focus, in full colour, for full appreciation of the challenges ahead.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12th, 2012

Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. Yaw

This week is going to be an exciting week. This week will hopefully see a declaration of ‘unified-and-open-hostilities’ on a little acknowledged scourge of our rural communities. This week will see the First National Schistosomiasis Control Forum, (themed “Building Sustainable Partnership for Schistosomiasis Control in Ghana”), taking place at Akosombo on Wednesday (15th March). So what does that have to do with aircraft and Fresh Air Matters?

Everything! Over the past few years, teams have been quietly working to identify many communities that have, in all probability, never before been reached with education regarding Schistosomiasis as part of planned, on-going, outreach to improve the health quotient for rural dwellers.

When Professor K.M. Bosompem of the Community Directed Development Foundation and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, first made contact with me about the project I was, as usual, a little sceptical. Well, OK then, a LOT sceptical – yes, I even thought ‘naah, it will never happen, just another talking shop’. You could say I thought ‘it will never fly’. However, over the past months we have had the opportunity to work together, seeking synergies as we shared ideas and concepts across a wide range of institutions – and the thing is, that this particular initiative is not one driven by the ‘outsiders’, this is a home-desired and home-designed initiative; key to long term sustainability. As the team met and grew, VRA, GHS, IESS, NMIMR, WACIPAC, CDDF, MOM, and more alphabet soup ingredients than GSB could map, added flavour to the soup. The discussions morphed into a realistic and achievable set of stepping stones, making my heart race… ‘YES! This could fly as an idea, and as a workable outreach!’

This week, as a result of many focused efforts from many different sources, the airframe of the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Ghana will be rolled out, with speakers sharing their vision for the reduction and potential eradication of Schistosomiasis. (Remember, Schisto is the second most socio-economically devastating parasitic infection affecting the development of Ghana.) That ‘airframe-design-work’ will be fleshed out, prepared to taxi, and will need a cast of literally thousands to meet its objectives.

There will be the air-support role (yes, my interest area), the ground attack role (nurses and health professionals on the ground, and on the water), the intelligence-gathering arm (research and monitoring), and a host of other roles for the multi-agency solution that will have life breathed into it, as a result of this week’s machinations.

Some things have become blatantly obvious in the struggle against Schistosomiasis in Ghana. Amongst those, one of the top beacons of attention grabbing realities is that, without air-support, the task is practically impossible. You simply can’t make it really happen without the air-support component. You can do a fair amount without the air-support, but you cannot achieve the goal. With regards to fighting a disease like this, failure is NOT an option. We have to win, and in the shortest possible time-frame.

Attacking a disease like Schisto is no different to attacking any challenge. You need a team, you need intelligence gathering, you need a plan and you need trained people. Above all, you need to start. Sitting around talking does not make it happen. Big announcements about ‘this, that and the other’ do not make it happen. TV interviews do not make it happen. Full-page colour ads in newspapers do not make it happen.

What makes it happen is getting out there, getting dirty, and seeing the reality, feeling the challenge seeping into your soul through your eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin. Becoming imbibed with the whole – becoming a part of it… Taking that challenge on, grasping it, never letting it go, and working each day on disease suppression, its demise, and anticipating its final passing. Then stepping over it and seeking the next challenge. Making ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ look like pink fluffy stuffed toys, as we deal with the real life challenges, not the celluloid distractions that makes the multi-media boys and girls jump up-and-down with excitement.

The stark reality of most such challenges is that they are tough and complex. Whether it is an engineering challenge, a health challenge, an infrastructural development challenge, a construction challenge or simply getting the kid to school challenge – it takes a team, and it takes dedication coupled with sacrifice – and time.

I was recently asked why I stopped working with a certain international agency providing aid to Ghana. My, apparently unrelated, response shocked the question poser; ‘Do you have any children?’ He hesitantly responded, ‘a one-year old girl and a three-year old boy’. My next response visibly upset him; ‘You mean to say that you have a three year old in your house? Send him out to work. Three years is long enough for an international aid programme – it is long enough to bring up a child and send them out to work!’ He almost believed me, but then I grinned and reassured him with ‘My mother considers that I am still a work in progress...’

However, the point got across, and that is ‘most programmes and outreaches are of an inadequate, politically induced, time-frame’. Generally, political cycles dictate the development agendas. Consequently, there is the desire to complete the majority of outreach programmes within a three- to four-year project cycle. Something which no parent can relate to. You cannot take on a child and get it ready for total independence in less than twenty years (and then some!). Of course, the amount of inputs change, and the relative independence grows, but mostly projects need to be at least ten to twelve years of continued input for success to flourish.

I acknowledge openly that most of these three- to four-year projects get ‘follow-up’ or ‘sequel’ projects – but, sadly, they tend to have a hiatus in-between, and far too often team member changes. Many long-term projects in the developing nations see multiple teams coming and going over the project cycle, and each time there is a period of trust building and more ‘start-stop-start- spurt-stop-start-stop’ cycles than are good for the targeted beneficiaries of the projects.

Today the multi-team, talkshop-riddled, over-chit-chat, circular-planning, think-think-think-a-lot-tank, let’s-discuss cycle has tended to leave out the much needed ‘action-part’. With it we can see that mankind has lost its momentum, and raised the costs in financial and human terms. Take note that during the last century mankind put men and women into space, visited the moon, launched space stations, broke speed and altitude records, set standards and created a legacy. This century, 12% under-the-calendar-bridge, has seen lots of talk, many announcements but with insufficient sustained or sustainable ground breaking outcomes.

It is the fervent desire and belief of many that this week’s ‘First National Schistosomiasis Control Forum’ will not be simply an outdooring of a desire, but rather a first step on Ghana’s ladder to becoming one of the first nations to eradicate a disease by local design, desire and management – and that ranks alongside putting a man on the moon in my book!

Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics ( e-mail

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Photo of the week, March 7th

Two head-pans, a shovel and off to the heat of the day. All part of the everyday life of our rural folks... This particular woman was working on a centre for HIV Orphans and vulnerable children, for her own community. The solution to so many of our challenges lies within the realisation of the effects of positive outcomes, many of which can be effected via encouragement, training and the resultant self-realisation, innovation, self-reliance and self-extraction from the challenges of development. Photo courtesy of Medicine on the Move

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5th, 2012

Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. Yaw

Where did you get your newspaper from today? Was it delivered to your office? Did you buy it through the window of your car or tro’ on the way to work? Perhaps you browsed for it at a news booth? However, have you ever wondered about how people in rural areas access newspapers or other information?

When did you last wonder ‘Can I get today’s newspaper in Nalerigu, Sampa or Salaga?’ – the answer is ‘probably not!’ Many of the daily papers are not available till later in the day, or even the next day (at best), in many parts of the country – and in some areas are, in effect, never available whilst they are even luke-warm!

Alaska has a similar problem to Ghana, in that many of its people live in ‘challenging to reach on a regular basis’ locations. Before the internet and satellite communications the only way to ensure regular contact and support to those living in hard to reach places, was by dropping communications and supplies by air.

One account that grabs my attention is that of young Alaskan lad who used to wait each day, with his horse, near where the newspaper drop was made. The light aircraft would fly low past the drop point and push out a small green bag, with just ten or twelve newspapers in it. The young man would then collect the newspapers and take them by horse to the homes of those in his area. Some drops would be just a single newspaper, for those who were really isolated.

Today, fewer and fewer of the folks in Alaska have their newspapers delivered by air, however, many of them now have their own aircraft and fly from their ‘farm strips’ to their nearest ‘bigger township’ – bigger being a relative term! Communication, contact and support being the essential component of the connectivity, wherever and however it is in the world. Regular and timely contact and information provision is becoming a de-facto human right.

Many communities around the world maintain regular contact by air – just with a simple air-drop of a communication canister or of vital supplies. Perhaps the most regular, and spectacular, is the supply to those in Antartica. Aircraft could land on the ice pack, but to reduce risk to people, aircraft and the ice-pack as well, a simple low-level drop is carried out, generally using a canister with a long, brightly coloured streamer for easy identification and recovery.

Interestingly, supply drops from aircraft, of any nature, require special permissions – for safety and security reasons. The regulations around the world vary, but make it clear that, without special permission, no item may be dropped from an aircraft, in some cases with the caveat ‘unless for navigation purposes’. This would always amuse me as a caveat until, one day, I read about a pilot losing his headset from an open cockpit aircraft. When later questioned by the authorities as to the ‘how and why he breached regulations’ he pointed out ‘it was for navigational purposes’, and was exonerated under the ‘navigational caveat’! His argument was that he needed to mark a point on the ground to make sure he knew where he was. Today such an excuse would be unlikely to pass muster in front of any authority! (Off the record, I will admit that, some years ago, a passenger lost his cap out of the window of my plane – it was sudden and took all by surprise. Since that incident, I issue supplemental warnings to ‘cap wearers’ not to put their heads too close to the window, since, should the wind get under the peak of the cap, it will part company with the head’! I am also sure that there is a cattle herder in a remote part of the Volta Region with a very nice black and yellow cap that came as a gift from the skies!)

If you remember, last week we considered the challenges of reaching the many communities, especially around the Volta Basin, which are, for all intent and purposes isolated. The cost in time and resources to reach such communities using traditional methods is high, and, understandably, falls low on the priorities list against the ‘easier to reach, often larger, communities’ in need.

Seeing these communities day-after-day, I and my colleagues, with permission and oversight from the authorities, set about developing a safe and repeatable way to reach the dwellers in such areas, with the primary aim of taking health education materials and encouragement (a rare commodity, easily given at no personal cost) to the thousands of villages and hamlets that pepper the Basin.

We have developed two systems that are both safe and repeatable, and amazingly cost effective – and, all permissions permitting, hope to soon see them in use on a regular basis, initially around the Volta and then expanding to other needy areas.

One of the biggest challenges to overcome was how to develop a low-cost packaging and safe to deliver solution –that was waterproof and floats too. Low-cost was solved with the help and ingenuity of a Ghanaian company, Sintex, who are better known for their production of high quality water tanks and packaging materials for retail outlets as well as the production of the empty water sachets for water-baggers. With a slight adaptation of a standard product, it became possible to create a ‘finned’ delivery bag that can contain about 10 documents and light supplies, and for it to always fall in a particular manner. At first we could not believe the effectiveness of the system, we tested it, time, and time again, and found it to be the perfect answer for reaching out to those who are, for all practical purposes, ‘un-contactable’.

The first trial was carried out at Kpong, in an aircraft crewed with two young Ghanaian ladies, and it took us all by surprise. We had previously looked at systems with parachutes, recoverable aluminium carriers, and all the complicated solutions you can imagine. Yet, here was a simple ‘made in Ghana’ and ‘developed in Ghana’ solution that could change the fate of many – safe, reliable, repeatable and cost-effective.

Using a specially adapted light aircraft, it will soon be possible to reach up to fifty communities, within one hundred kilometres of the departure point, without landing, without taking excessive risks – all within three hours. Not only quicker than by road or boat, but at a lower overall cost.

If you would like to see how this is done, and perhaps participate in demonstration drop, I invite you to enter a simple ‘competition’… All you need to do is to write me an e-mail, introducing yourself and suggesting what topics for health education you would include in such a communication to a rural community, and why. The best five entries will be invited to spend a day at Kpong, seeing how aircraft are built and maintained here in Ghana, and to learn more about the way aircraft are being used to reach out to communities in our rural areas. My e-mail is – and I am waiting for your entry (or perhaps that of your teenage off-spring)! Entry deadline is 14th March 2012, winners will be contacted by e-mail by 31st March 2012.

Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics ( e-mail