The availability of healthcare services is critical to good health and in rural Papua New Guinea there are many barriers to accessing these services including a lack of basic medical supplies.
Identifying these barriers, the Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority (SH PHA) in partnership with Oil Search Foundation (OSF) embarked on an activity to revitalise the local health sector in the Kutubu area.
Hospital and delivery beds, wheelchairs, personal protective equipment, and many other items were purchased and delivered to seven health facilities in Kutubu. OSF officers then worked with PHA staff to ensure all equipment was installed properly.
Staff were then trained in the use of diagnostic equipment and the related clinical procedures.
“A well-functioning health system requires access to essential medical products, vaccines, and devices,” said Dr Vincent Pyakalyia, OSF’s Senior Advisor Health.
“Our support to SH PHA does not stop with this donation, it continues through to capacity building of health workers and improving communication between the facilities and their management teams, whether that be government or churches.
Dr Joseph Birisi, CEO SHP PHA said, “These medical resources will be used by nurses and community health workers, some with little to no recent training or supervision.
“We aim to improve the quality of care provided, increase wellbeing and change the lives of the men, women and children who need access to quality healthcare at their doorsteps.” said Dr Birisi
He went on to say, “Our PHA is working hard to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the same time keep our essential services running. OSF’s support as a partner in Kutubu helps us ensure the doors remain open.”
During the handover of equipment at Pimaga Hospital, (one of the seven major facilities) the faces of these dedicated nurses lit up with smiles.
Rural Health Facility Committee member, Banima Vege said, “This support provided by OSF and SHP PHA brings efficient patient care to us in the community.
We are thankful for this remarkable help. I also urge the community to take ownership and protect these resources, as it benefits us all.”
An emotional local Ward Councillor in Pimaga, Timothy Dosabo said, “Most times, our people would have to walk two to three days to get to Mendi General Hospital to receive treatment when Ill. They do not need to travel long distances anymore.