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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Treading lightly

With around 60 days to the Presidential Elections in Ghana, we are seeing a lot of campaigning going on. We are exercising additional caution in all that we do in order that nothing can be mistaken as a 'politcal statement' or 'politically motivated action'. Misunderstandings happen, it is our role to avoid them.

Many people outside of the environment we live and work in, and some who are inside, struggle to grasp the approach and methodologies of 'caution' that we take.

Aviation related avitivites are different to others, especially in this environment. It is important that people remember that Aviation for the People in many of the developing nations is a relatively 'new' thing. Ghana is leading the pack - and very successfully - with MoM being a key piece in that development.

Traditionally, aviation has been the near exclusive domain of the military, commercial transport and the occasional 'foreigners club'. The reasons for this have been many, and quite honestly, on the whole valid. Security has been a major concern over the years and, coupled with the cost elements, has been a very protected environment. But things are changing and we are at the forefront of those changes.

When WAASPS and Medicine on the Move came on the scene in Ghana, there was a lot of 'caution', quite rightly so. Over the past few years we have changed a lot of perceptions, and have earned trust and confidence, at all levels, in all that we do. Part of that is related to our 'self-regulation' - knowing when to do something, and knowing when to 'stop' or 'delay'. Misconceptions can occur at levels and it is our responsibility to use our privileges in the manner in which they were granted. We do not have the right to do what we do, it is a privilege and we must respect that, work with that and ensure that we listen to the sounds of the system in all that we do.

Much of the success of MoM in gaining the freedom to carry out certain activities are linked to the fact that we have made the effort to grasp the local nuances and to work towards the greater good, within the confines of the local situation and condition. At times that is frustrating. At times, some of you write to me suggesting 'just do it'.... but we are not a Nike advert - we are here for the long haul, not for a one off 'spectacular'. We are not a foreign operation, we are a local operation - we have responsibility for the local people by the local people - peoples health, education, jobs and livelihoods are on the line. By considering carefully each and every action we take, we try to ensure that we respect the local conditions, assist those that we can and are still here to help in the future. At times there is a need for a strategic withdrawal - that may be a challenge to grasp from outside of the theatre in which we are daily embroiled.

Medicine on the Move has no political nor religious affiliations, and does not allow the promotion of politics or religion in any of its activities We do promote the concept of improved health, education and socio-economic improvement for all, in a sustainable manner. At times that means we take some tough decisions - we do not expect everybody to agree, but ask that all understand that the reasons are well thought out.

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