Remote villages get access to health awareness

More than 600 school children and people from three remote villages in Kafa, Southern Highlands Province were given education awareness by the Oil Search Foundation and partners recently.

The awareness was on family planning, Tuberculosis (TB) and the dangers of illegal drugs, alcohol abuse and violence.

The Oil Search Foundation (OSF) working with Maries Stopes and the Pimaga District Hospital staff organised a two-day health patrol last month that delivered health services and awareness to the schools and communities.

The eight-person team provided immunisation for children, general outpatient screening, antenatal clinics for pregnant mothers, family planning services, HIV testing and distributed treated Mosquito nets.

Pimaga District Hospital Matron, Michael Puma thanked the community for their hospitality saying; “your response shows the need for more health outreaches to people in rural areas.

“Besides providing health services, it’s very important to raise general awareness in the community on basic hygiene and social issues.”

The community and surrounding villages at Kafa have a projected population of about 1800 people and is serviced by one aid post only staffed by a lone aid post orderly.

Puma said local authorities have difficulty transporting medical supplies to the area so people have no choice but to wait.

“The last time a patrol like this visited Kafa was over 10 months ago,” he said.

Further south, along the border of Southern Highlands and Gulf, another patrol comprising OSF and partners from the Gulf Provincial Health office, Kikori District Health Services, Gulf Christian Health Services and Kikori Catholic Health Services visited the Foroba area.

This three-day outreach provided similar health services for over 400 men, women and children from Negebare, Tetrabare, Saketo, Sirigi, Biagi and Bolo villages who have no road access.

“Working with district, provincial and national government health authorities to strengthen health service delivery is a vital part of the Oil Search Foundation program,” said OSF Public Health Officer, Damien Levi.

“The remoteness creates challenges for many communities. It often results in non-functioning health facilities, lacking basic health supplies and water. It’s a similar situation faced right across PNG and it’s the reason why working together with government and our partners is really important to keep reaching out.”

Picture: Oil Search Foundation Public Health Officer, Anna Jack serving a mother and daughter at Kafa.

Cedric Patjole