Photo: Oil Search Foundation staff and district health workers with Foroba locals who received their vaccinations during one the outreach patrols to the region.
The Oil Search Foundation (OSF) in partnership with the National Department of Health, Provincial and District Health authorities, and faith based organisations are providing immunisations against life-threatening diseases to children in remote communities in Hela, Southern Highlands and Gulf Provinces.
Over an eight week period, OSF facilitated a number of patrols to remote areas of Southern Highlands, Hela and Gulf to provide 1600 vaccinations to children. Health teams took the opportunity to include other services such as eye and dental care, maternal checks and the delivery of basic health care.
“It is a lot easier to get to facilities and villages that have roads, but we cannot ignore the communities in remote areas where roads are just a dream,” said Ingrid Glastonbury, OSF Head of Health. “Every child deserves health care and OSF has the logistics power and the commitment to help get these services to them.”
Protecting children against preventable disease is one of the most important health services for any child anywhere in the world.
In a country like Papua New Guinea, access to life immunisation is often difficult, especially for thousands of children who live in remote areas. Even more challenging is the need for each child to receive a series of vaccinations over a period of time to ensure they are fully covered.
In the Bosavi Mission Station, Walagu and Wasoweido villages in Hela and the Southern Highlands, a team of seven health care professionals including doctors from Mendi Provincial Hospital immunised more than 200 children and provided services to more than 500 people.
The Walagu Sub Health Centre local nurse, Mike Hawi, expressed his gratitude saying, “I’m happy that the Oil Search Foundation has come and brought partner ECPNG, too. Thank you for all the medicines and injections for our babies, children and mothers and fathers. I hope you will come again soon to see us.”
In the Gulf Province, OSF supported a sea patrol to the four Middle Turama villages of Faia, Komaio, Sagari and Sorobo. 750 vaccines were given to children and 300 people were provided with much-needed basic health care.
These services were particularly appreciated in Komaio, where the Komaio Health Sub Centre has been closed for a number of years. OSF is working with the Province to rehabilitate and reopen the Health Centre.
Travelling by helicopter to the remote Foroba Mountains in Gulf Province, more than 600 vaccinations were also provided to children of the surrounding villages and communities. This is the third visit by OSF and District partners to these remote parts of Gulf.
“This remote location does not see health workers very often and their excitement when the helicopter lands is evident in all their faces,” Ms. Glastonbury explained. “This third visit in less than twelve months means that we have now fully protected nearly all of the children. We will be back again to protect the next generation of babies.”
The Oil Search Foundation works closely with the local, district and provincial health authorities and other health service providers like ECPNG to provide logistical support to facilitate such outreach programmes in some of the remotest parts of PNG.