Gaubin’s saving hands - Dr. Rakotoson

The Gaubin rural hospital is more than 70 years old being built during the 2nd World War era by Germans.

It is the first hospital in the country to drive a module that also incorporated, run and establish a nursing college within the hospital area. It is one of the oldest hospitals in the country and to date serves more than 120, 000 people on the island and nearby Bagabag Island.

However, Gaubin prides itself in also having some of the best medical practioners from abroad. Being a mission run hospital, specifically the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC), they have an agreement with other ELC establishments abroad to bring in specialist doctors to Gaubin.

They have had German and Madagascan doctors working at Gaubin since 1991. However, German doctors have since left as upon contract conditions leaving Dr. Eli Jean Aina Rakotoson from Madagascar, the Senior General Medical Officer, at Gaubin Hospital.

Dr. Rakotoson arrived in Papua New Guinea bound for Gaubin Hospital on Karkar Island in July 2018 with his family. He came as a health aid because of an agreement between ELC PNG and the Lutheran Church of Madagascar facilitated by a health program.

Before coming to PNG, Dr. Rakotoson wore three hats or rather three jobs. He was the head of the Soccer Department, a Lutheran Pastor who was ordained in 2007 and a Medical Officer.

“The biggest challenge for me is being the only medical officer. Since the German doctor’s contract expired and they returned back, I have been the only one here. It is quite daunting as I rarely get a chance to sleep as I’m always needed 24/7. However, I also thank the management here who try to help assist me,” Dr. Rakotoson states.

He further adds, “another bigger challenge is that, in emergency cases, we are limited by resources and thus have no other option but to refer patients to the Modilon General Hospital, even if they don’t want to. We need more specialist doctors,” he stressed.

In addition to that he is calling if the Government or the Lutheran Church can maintain the infrastructure of the hospital as it is seen that 70 plus years have taken its toll on them. All the buildings have now deteriorated and in need of an uplift or refurbishment.

He says that if it’s God willing he is thinking of taking up post graduate studies to become a specialist doctor so that it can maximize his ability to perform in his duty. Currently, as he states, there are limits to his practices that he cannot breach, even if he wanted to or knew how to.

For instance, he can do caesarean on a mother but would need the OK from a surgeon which at most times is difficult if it’s an emergency. That is why he is happy that the Management have proposed for his further studies.

Dr. Rakotoson is very happy living on Karkar and thanks the Lord for giving him this opportunity in helping people on the island. He’d like to stay on in Gaubin if he does get to complete his post graduate studies.