"Does the Bongolo Hospital really need air service?"
I was recently asked this question by an international aid worker who has been in Gabon for over 10 years. I had never been asked this question. In fact, most people who have been in Gabon for any amount of time have realized the dire need for such service.
So, even though I was caught off guard, I took the chance to highlight the services and care provided at the Bongolo Hospital and give a quick review of the many obstacles (hospital strikes, poor infrastructure, inadequate facilities, etc.) that stand in the way of Gabonese receiving it.
As if those things weren't enough, other reasons are mounting. The European Commission has released their latest listing of "black listed" air services.
"The list also imposes a total ban on airlines based in Equatorial Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Gabon - save for Gabon Airlines and Afrijet, which have exemptions for a small number of aircraft."
In case you missed it, ALL air services in Gabon are on the "black list" with the only exception being the operators that don't have a fleet that is large enough to be evaluated. These services have been audited and found to be unacceptable for the people of the 27 European Union nations to use.
Air Service in Gabon? Hmm... yep. It's needed.