OSF joins battle against malaria
Oil Search Foundation (OSF) is supporting Rotarians Against Malaria (RAM) as they work to prevent malaria in remote parts of PNG.
Launched last August, and due to run until at least late 2020, the OSF-RAM partnership will ensure that appropriate medicines are always on hand in Gulf and Hela hospitals, and provide communities with mosquito nets.
And it’s off to an excellent start. By providing transport, accommodation and logistical support, along with a vast list of good local contacts, OSF has already helped RAM teams deliver over 130,000 nets to some 260,000 residents all over the province.
For OSF’s Ruby Kenny, the smooth six-week operation provided an example of partnership at its finest.
“Rotary sourced their own funds, OSF provided some of the logistics support and together we delivered a tangible benefit to communities. By working together, we travelled quicker and further into remote areas than we ever could have managed if we were working alone to ensure people benefited.”
Designed to kill mosquitos, or at the very least prevent them from biting people in bed, the long-lasting nets come from technology that has led to sharp decreases in malaria all over the world.
As Ingersoll neatly puts it, “the distribution of mosquito nets is a gift to our people to reduce mosquito-borne disease. Everyone benefits – except the mosquito!”
OSF and RAM are now focussed on providing health services in Kikori District, Hela Province and Kutubu District – three remote regions where Oil Search has facilities that can support the distribution, and a long track record of serving the community.
And as OSF Executive Director Stephanie Copus-Campbell points out, there is really no time to waste.
“After being in decline for well over a decade, malaria is on the rise once again. The last few years have seen a huge increase in the number of cases all over the country, with a high proportion of those becoming ill being children under 15.”
It is important to get on top of prevention and treatment quickly and simple mosquito nets are still one of our best prevention weapons.”
“RAM is a wonderful organisation which has been fighting the good fight for a great many years. We are extremely proud to now stand by their side.”
For RAM’s Munir Ahmed, the partnership with OSF has provided the organisation more, and more cost-effective, access into remote communities in Hela, Gulf and Southern Highlands Province.
“OSF has a strong presence and connection with local communities and health facilities which makes RAM’s work easier and sustainable with regards to the distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN), malaria diagnosis and treatment.
OSF medical staff join the RAM team during quarterly health centre visits to ensure the uninterrupted supply of malaria commodities like drugs, test kits and nets, and also to collect malaria program data from remote health workers in a timely manner.
“This is a sustainable and a cost-effective program model. OSF also provides local level security, accommodation, food and vehicle support to RAM staff during quarterly health facility visits and a storage facility for malaria commodities.”