Photo: Oil Search Foundation Kutubu-Kikori Field Supervisor, Chrisbourne Taput officially handing over the initial food-drive donations to Mr. Kaipu, Kikori Rural Hospital Administrator earlier this year witnessed by (R-L), Sr. Mefaramu, Sr. Kaipu and Clement Kumaru.
The Kikori Hospital in Gulf Province has recorded 100% of patients completing tuberculous (TB) intensive treatment following an Oil Search-led food drive and ongoing support for improved nutrition.
Gulf province is one of Papua New Guinea’s three TB hotspots and the Kikori hospital has a high rate of TB patient admissions.
Due to budget cuts, providing daily meals has been challenging for the Hospital. Until recently, many of the patients stopped treatment in search of food.
Patients ceasing treatment too early risk spreading TB and also developing the multidrug-resistant strain of the disease.
Oil Search and the Oil Search Foundation helped to address the situation with an employee-driven collection of food items recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Ladi Kalama the clinical supervisor at the Hospital said this was an incredible outcome.
In 2015, Kikori hospital recorded 330 new TB cases with 87 patients leaving treatment. From January to September this year, 160 new cases were registered with zero patients leaving treatment after the food drive.
“What we are seeing is the result of a strong and effective working partnership between the Hospital and especially Oil Search and the Oil Search Foundation for identifying this need and helping us address it,” Mr Kalama said.
The food drive received overwhelming support from many organisations and individuals. Initial food donations included 190 kilograms of rice, 7 cartons of noodles, 6 boxes of biscuits, 7 cartons of tinned food, 5 litres of cooking oil and 70 packs of laundry detergent.
The Oil Search Foundation continues to support the hospital with ongoing food supplementation and is working with local women’s groups to provide food at a low cost for patients to prepare themselves.
This not only helps TB patients but also provides income generation opportunities for Kikori women.
Oil Search Foundation’s Head of Health, Ingrid Glastonbury described the outcome as a ‘real win’ against the growing threat of TB in Gulf province.
“Reducing the burden of TB in the Gulf and PNG is a serious concern and while there’s still a lot of work to be done, we’re thankful to everyone who has helped contribute to this fantastic outcome.”