Jan 21, 2019: Humanitarian relief organisation Airlink has partnered with Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing, and the Afya Foundation to transport specialty microscopes to treat hundreds of patients awaiting ear surgery. The unique partnership between nonprofits and the private sector is bringing relief to hundreds of children awaiting surgeries for chronic ear diseases in Adama, Ethiopia.

As part of its mission to mobilise the aviation industry to ensure assistance reaches communities impacted by disasters and other humanitarian crises, Airlink coordinated transportation of two decommissioned surgical microscopes weighing a combined 500 pounds. The equipment, donated by the Greater Philadelphia branch of Healing the Children (HTC) through the Afya Foundation to doctors at the Adama Hospital and Medical College, flew aboard a Boeing 777 delivered from Everett, Wash to its new owner Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa recently.

“We are extremely grateful to Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing for offering to transport aid on their aircraft delivery flight. Their support for this mission will improve lives and is a prime example of how the generosity of the aviation industry leads to people and communities around the world receiving assistance that would otherwise be out of reach,” said Steven J Smith, president and CEO of Airlink.

“Boeing is pleased to play a role in these efforts and continues to look for opportunities to collaborate with our airline customers and humanitarian organisations to help communities throughout the world,” said John Blazey, VP, Boeing Global Engagement.

According to Dr. Glenn Isaacson, HTC volunteer and professor of otolaryngology at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine, there is a high prevalence of hearing loss and chronic ear disease among children in Ethiopia. “As recently as 10 years ago there were only a dozen ear, nose and throat surgeons in the country of 100 million people,” said Isaacson. “Through our collaboration with the otolaryngology residency at Addis Ababa University there are now more than 50 practicing otolaryngologists in the country. As these bright, well-trained surgeons dispersed to regional hospitals, they found most operating rooms lacked any of the instruments necessary to do corrective ear surgery.”

The arrival of the microscopes means doctors at the Adama Hospital and Medical College can alleviate the backlog of hundreds of children identified with infected ears and hearing loss who have long gone untreated.

In addition to its response to medical needs in Ethiopia, Airlink transported 834 relief personnel and 24,000 pounds of emergency supplies for some of its 80 relief organisation partners responding to hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes and other crises in 2018.

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