(Photo: Member of health patrol team Immunising a child in Muluma)
KUTUBU, SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS PROVINCE, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Around 110 children from six villages in remote Muluma area of Mt Bosavi have been immunised during a four-day health patrol as part of Oil Search Foundation’s (OSF) ongoing post-earthquake relief operations in the Southern Highlands Province in June.
The OSF-led team comprised of a doctor, a midwife, a family planning officer from Marie Stopes (PNG) and two field health officers administered 340 vaccinations for these children.
Closure of the only health facility for the community, the Muluma aid post, several years ago has made access to health services a challenge.
The team used the opportunity to provide basic health care, family planning, antenatal clinics for pregnant women and general health awareness, including the coordination of two medical evacuations.
Team leader, Dr Graham Low, said that the lack of access to a health facility has put many at risk of dying from curable diseases, especially women and children.
“Routine heath patrols are necessary and vital for communities who have difficulties accessing health services. It’s the only way we can reach the sick and save lives in remote rural communities”, said Dr Low.
Muluma is located in the Mt Bosavi Local Level Government (LLG) in the Nipa Kutubu District of Southern Highlands and has no road access.
Former president of Bosavi LLG, Weima Dinawi, thanked Oil Search Foundation for taking the initiative to bring health services to his people.
“Thank you OSF and Oil Search Limited (OSL) for bringing much needed health services to our mothers and children and those of us who are sick and in need of such attention,” Mr Dinawi told the team.
Steven Dablen, a senior teacher at Muluma Primary School, was so grateful his students could receive vaccinations, many for the first time, to protect against various diseases.
“I have taught in Muluma for the last three years and this is my first time to see a health team visit and immunise our students. Thanks you Oil Search and Oil Search Foundation for making it possible for my students to be vaccinated,” Mr Dablen said.
In light of the recent Polio outbreak in Lae in Morobe Province, OSF with support from OSL, has made vaccinations a priority to support Government efforts in the Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces and Kikori District of the Gulf province.