Photo: Hela PHA CEO, Dr James Kintwa speaking to staff at the Koroba Health Centre during the visit
TARI, HELA PROVINCE, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The Hela Provincial Health Authority (HPHA), working in partnership with the Oil Search Foundation (OSF) has carried out comprehensive post-earthquake assessments, including scoping and costings, of thirty health facilities from throughout the Hela province.
The HPHA and OSF team also included personnel from Genesis Engineering and PAWA Architecture.
Travelling across some of the most rugged terrain in PNG, the team assessed the extent of earthquake damage and the immediate, medium and long term needs at over 30 Rural Health facilities.
Margarima, Walate, Hedemari, Guala, Awi and Pori were some of the locations visited.
Disaster Relief medicine donations provided by MedShare were distributed in addition to allocated supplies to each visited facility and staff were interviewed to understand their concerns.
Despite the many challenges identified to restore health services, there were some powerful stories of commitment and true service by health workers to keep services operational after considerable damages from the February earthquake. Staff of Manada Sub Health Centre for instance setup makeshift tents to continue attending to the sick and wounded.
Dr James Kintwa, Chief Executive Officer for HPHA commended the service provided by rural health staff at these remote locations.
“Our rural staff are very positive and doing their best under very difficult circumstances. Staff are improvising and adapt to suit their changed working conditions. The majority of staff have kept working and serving our province regardless” said Dr James Kintwa.
OSF Program Development Manager for Hela, Mr Rodney Ingersoll, who was part of the assessment team, was optimistic that through effective partnerships, rural health facilities damaged will be restored and rural staff better supported.
“Working together we are making a real difference through policy, smart building design, renovation of damaged buildings, purchase of essential equipment, staff training and better resource use and planning”, said Mr Rodney Ingersoll.
The team is currently preparing to visit Benaria, Panduaga, Karinja, Kopiago and Wanikipa this week.
A comprehensive assessment report will be completed to enable better rural resource planning.
Oil Search Foundation continues to support the long term sustainability of rural health care in Hela and has concrete plans in place to assist the HPHA achieve health outcomes.