With your help the people of West Africa have "a chance, not only to change their own lives and their own destinies, but to change the future of an entire generation".

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Storms on the Horizon

A storm is brewing. .. at this time year we are getting ready for the first major storms of the season. Personally I expect it in the coming days.  
This morning we have an 'angry' looking sky as we head to Accra, pushing for regulatory changes to enable us to use light aviation more fully in the service of humanitarian support to rural communities.
This year marks 19 years since I started pushing towards the enablement of rural communities through light aviation and we have come a long way. ... but there is much more to be achieved.
Let us hope that the change of season will be reflected in positive changes in regulations and support for our activities.
Thank you all for your active support and encouragement towards the growth of Medicine on the Move and the Avtech academy, changing lives sustainably.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Supporting a supporter....

Francis Norman came to officially hand over the MoM car today. .. but he was not well. With a temperature
of over 39c and painful swollen ankle he was quickly admitted to the mini clinic.

We hope to get his infection under control in the comming hours so that he can continue on his tour of Ghana, returning to Kpong next week for a special event.

Friday, March 22, 2013

EMT Training

Unexpected occurrences do happen, but how we respond to them when they happen, is the most important thing.

Everyone at the airfield is being trained for EMT(Emergency Medical Technician). This is to enable each individual be able to help render first aid service should the need arise.

Every week always ends with a scenario to keep the team prepared for a real case, meanwhile today's scenario was one that will definitely need revisited.

The ladies were given a situation which goes as follows;
A volunteer gentleman using the chainsaw and mistakenly got his arm cut with the saw and as a result fell straight to the ground helplessly in shock and with a potential head injury.

The ladies approached the scene and the first thing that happened was; everybody stopped and in first aid, thus
1. I am number one.
2. What happened to you?
3. BSI (Body Substance Isolation)
4.Are there any more?
5.Dead or alive?
They then emobilised his head put him in wheel chair and took him to the clinic in order to work on him easier since he has been working in the sun for a long time and perhaps is part of his panic, the clinic will keep him cool.

Direct pressure was applied to the wound to stop the bleeding and to help the blood clot quicker. the wound was then cleaned and covered. To start with, the victim's LoR was zero but by the time they had reassured and dressed his wounds, he was fine with LoR×4 ( meaning that; he knew his name, where he was, what time of day it was and what happened to him).

Vital signs were taken and a soap report prepared for handing over to a responsible physician.

In all the students performed brilliantly.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Franz from Switzerland is helping out at Kpong Airfield. He is ready to tackle any task thrown at him and even hunts out his own challenges. Here he is sorting out needs for items with Safi in her new office.

Franz has a vision to help introduce motor vehicle maintenance training at the site

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Getting there....

Here we see a built in Ghana CH701 aircraft en-route to a health education drop run in the Afram Plains, flown by Patricia Mawuli. Early morning mist can be seen rising from the lush Volta Region vegetation below. This aircraft can remain airborne for more than 12 hours, with a range of over 1,600km, but most importantly it is taking much needed educational materials to communities far from the paved roads, touching lives with inspiration and a clear demonstration of Ghanaian determination and ability to change lives, positively and sustainably, through the use of engineering and aviation. Photo courtesy of Rex Pemberton. Aircraft built and maintained by WAASPS Ltd www.waasps.com and mission flight co-ordinated by Medicine on the Move www.medicineonthemove.org - Medicine on the Move is currently seeking sponsorship to expand its health drop operations, planning to drop around one thousand health packages in 2013.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Lydia discovered Polaroid cameras and worked out her geometry to get it to function. We have a number of volunteers on site at this time and are using the Polaroid snaps to make a collage. The camera was kindly provided by Rex and Melissa Pemberton who are currently working on a Red Bull documentary about all that goes on at Kpong!

Creativity is key to development. Sadly in many of the the communities we drop to there is little opportunity for much more than hand to mouth subsistance farming.

Perhaps one day soon we will see Lydia flying out to communities and using such a camera as part of her health education delivery. ..

Sadly lack of funds continues to affect our desired development profile.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ferry Crossings

 Lake Volta is largest man-made lake in the world by surface area and home to thousands of communities on its shores. The Volta Lake Transportation Company (VLTC) is the primary organization that operates ferries, barges, and boats on the lake to transport goods and personnel throughout Ghana. The lake serves as the premiere transportation medium in the country since it spans over half the distance of Ghana from north to south and doesn't have any potholes in it!

One of the major lake crossings is the ferryboat at Adawso. This ferry connects the primary road through the Afram Plains with the eastern region and greater Accra area. Operated by VLTC, the ferry at Adawso is always full and operates 7-8 crossings per day, laden with people, cars, and goods. It's always interesting to see which direction the goods are travelling since it shows the major import and export for these regions. For example, on the ferry ride back from the Afram Plains, the boat was loaded with trucks full of yams and charcoal, two of the major export items from the region during this time of year.

It's always a pleasure to see the boats operating on schedule and with full loads. Hopefully in the next few years we will see further development in the lake with more boats and more ferries to really take advantage if this amazing water resource to benefit both the communities on the water's edge and the country as a whole that created the Lake Volta.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hi Tech Drops

Madame Confidence explains
drops to the teachers
Even with all the people we have involved in preparing the drop materials, some of the best ideas still come from the people themselves. On our recent drops to the Afram Plains, the School Headmaster Ben asked me if we ever drop anything besides paper materials. He was specifically interested in having us drop video lessons for his students that the AvTech Academy has made: Ghanaians teaching Ghanaians! Dropping CDs or DVDs would not work well due to the delivery methods, but if we had a donation of 1000 USB flash drives the possibilities would be endless. Of course this delivery method would not work for all rural communities since most are without power, but those along the main roads in the Afram Plains do have power, even if it is intermittent. Ben indicated that video lessons and education materials will leave a more lasting and meaningful mark on his students when compared to written materials.

Ben the Headmaster
Supplementing the regular drop posters with this hi tech solution might just be one more step in the right direction for us. Yes we will need to test delivery methods and ensure survivability of the materials. Yes we need to try and find funding to support this new drop method. Yes it means we need to spend more time preparing video materials for the communities But in the long run, if it provides for better retention and better understanding of the necessary health education, then we will all come out as winners at the end. Some of the best ideas come from the communities themselves, maybe you can help Ben see his wish come true.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

MoM Car in the Wild

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

Over the past few months, Francis Norman and his crew in Germany have worked hard to get the new Medicine on the Move vehicle purchased and shipped to Ghana. Just last week we finally received it at the airfield once all registration and basic maintenance was complete. Lucky for us, this lovely Silver Opel Astra got put to the test right away with a three-day road trip to the Afram Plains! And it performed wonderfully! The six-speed diesel turbo did a wonderful job on the roads and handled the dirt roads and potholed tarmac with ease. Seating 5 comfortably including all the camera gear you can imagine, the Opel is now very much a part of the MoM family and will surely see many more years of good service in the field. A big thanks to Francis Norman, all of his friends in Germany, and all the others that put time and energy into making our new vehicle a reality. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Flyme day and the Afram plains

Fly Me Day this year focused on the girls from the Afram Plains. VLTC assisted with transport and logistics to get the girls into Kpong Airfield.

50 girls and their support team were flown. Then, once they made their way home we started the first drops of health education materials to these rural places. Patricia flew left seat in our incredible Rotax 912iS powered Ch701 (which we hope to upgrade to a CH750 later this year) and Lydia sat right seat as drop master.

All drops were successful and further runs will commence as soon as funds are available.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Preparing for the Afram Plains

Volunteers at Kpong Airfield learning how to create drop packs for health education.

These packs are amongst the first to be delivered by air to the Afram Plains!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fly Me Day 2013

These past few weeks have consumed our every moment with preparation for the Afram Plains Fly Me Day.

Due to the usual Murphy's Law of everything needing fixed (water problems, fuel sourcing issues, truck engine meltdown, aircraft technical challenges, too many visits to Accra, court cases, etc.) PLUS working flat out to prepare for fly me day and the forthcoming initial drops into the Afram Plains, I feel as if there is a distinct shortage of days in the hour!

All the same, we appear to be ready. All participating aircraft were finally 'released from engineering' and the last pilot passed their check ride for day as the sun started to back light the emergent mahogany trees on the ridge to the West.

A lot of consistent hard work from every member has us going to sleep early on the eve of a new outreach.

The Afram Plains girls have sailed all day and are sleeping in Akosombo for the night. ..ready to drive to the airfield at first light.

These girls will see aircraft close up for the first time ever. They will get a short ride and then learn more about the forthcoming Afram Plains outreach. We will demonstrate drops and explain what is coming their way.

Excited is an understatement for our feelings and also for that of the Afram Plains girls who will doubtless sleep little tonight on the floor of a hall.

We hope to bring you images and stories that will help you to grasp why we do what we do!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vetting with the Vet

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

On a recent trip to town, we paid a visit to the local vet clinic to try and get some medications for the dogs. We first arrived at the clinic and almost left right away since it looked closed and abandoned. A lone gentlemen crouched by the entrance assured us that the clinic was open but that the doctor was just across the street at his house. Apprehensively, we strolled onto the other side and knocked at his door. A friendly looking chap came to greet us in the front yard. After a short introduction and some chatting, we asked him about some tick medication that we can give the dogs that we had gotten before from him. Sadly, the doctor was out of stock and recommended that we go to Tema (45 minutes drive...) to try and get it from a store there. We then asked about the very basic rabies shot that they _should_ be administering regularly at this Government Sponsored Veterinary Clinic. His answer? No sorry, out of stock as well, try the store in Tema!

So there the short saga ends, a visit to the Vet who has none of the medications (or willingness to procure these meds for his customers) that should be normal to give to the animals in this area. I guess it's a good thing we didn't ask the final question: what medications do you actually have in stock? The answer I'm sure would frighten us all...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Reduce Reuse Refresh!

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

We live a daily challenge of having things break on us. Sometimes it's due to misuse or accident, but typically it's because of the poor quality. Sadly it seems that even the expensive imported goods are subject to premature failure which is in part due to the extreme heat and weather, but largely due to the fact that goods exported to Africa are often B-stock that failed to pass all inspections. It's very common for me to find a brand new in box plug or receptacle simply not working due to a skew piece of plastic molding that was never removed in manufacture.

The result of all this is that we have lots of broken things lying about that eventually end up completely retired, or in this case, reused. These photos show a lovely piece-of-junk floor fan that comes on a nice wobbly stand straight from the store and always falls over and breaks when it lands. Fortunately the handiman in me sees this as an opportunity to make a wall mounted fan for the welding bay. A short little while later and we have a lovely custom-designed, hand-built, luxury wall mounted oscillating fan to cool even the sweatiest welder on the hottest of days. It's rewarding to see the 'cool' things you can pull together from the junk pile and give them new life.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bush fires

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

Bush fires are a constant danger to the airfield, especially during the dry season. Regular readers of the blog may recall previous mentions of the fires to the east of the airfield that got pretty close to the hangers and fuel depot. Careful management of our resources and the surrounding vegetation is what kept us safe.

Earlier this week we again saw the familiar plume of smoke across the airfield, this time it was close enough to warrant an investigation. We discovered a blazing bush fire just beyond the fence line for our cross runway that was burning, unattended, in the mango farm next door. Fortunately, our well maintained perimeter road stopped the fire from crawling onto our property, but we were sure to keep a close eye on it throughout the day until it burned out.

Bush fires are a natural part of the ecological system in the bush and are necessary to reduce excess growth and dangerous fuel loads on the area. Unburned areas are exceptionally dangerous when they do burn since they will be very large and uncontrollable. Careful management of our property through mowing and cutting back growth in our safety areas is critical to maintaining a safe airfield. Occasionally a controlled burn is needed on the field to prevent neighboring fires from jumping the fence line and damaging the operating areas of the airfield.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Francis Norman and team Germany score .....

Submitted by Patricia Mawuli

Wow wow!

Why wow? The new MoM Astra motor vehicle arrived at the Airfield today after a long journey on the sea all the way from Germany. A big thanks must go to Francis Norman who is a violinist, a great supporter with what MoM does to help change lives sustainably, supported by other MoM Germany friends and organisations, who worked really hard on getting a vehicle to enable achieve the day to day activities in Ghana rural areas, which can't be accessed by planes in a cost effective manner.

The whole team were thrilled to see the nicely decorated vehicle in the MoM logo stickers.

Francis is an amazing supporter of our operations. The entire team is truly grateful for his hard work and dedication.
See also The final touches and The Francis Norman Data center