Bridging the gap in remote areas

Lack of infrastructure poses barriers to healthcare in the remote areas of PNG, including the Telefomin District in the rugged terrains of the country.

Mission Aviation Fellowship in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has helped overcome some of these challenges.

A Community Health Worker (CHW) at the Telefomin district hospital, Ephraim Urunok emphasized the inconvenience of reaching these villages by foot and spoke about the dependence on such partnerships with MAF.

 "There are no other options, like cars and roads, or waterways to catch a boat, they don’t exist. Therefore, we only have MAF to be able to do that kind of (health patrol) work here in the Telefomin District.

“Their lives are at risk, with a 50-50 chance as they don’t have any other options to access help. So, MAF is the means of transport we use to save the lives of people in hard-to-reach, remote places”, said CHW Urunok.

It has been two years since the start of the partnership between MAF and New Zealand Aid through their funding. MAF transported about 1,300 health professionals providing almost 500 flights to bring help, hope and healing to places where health care otherwise barely exists.

Urunok spoke about the partnership that enabled his team of health workers to travel to Fiyak village in West Sepik Province recently.

"Fiyak was closed for 6 or 7 years, the airstrip was not operational. The locals there realized that it was difficult to receive any service. Therefore, they (the community) really worked hard to get their airstrip up to safe standards for the plane to land, and we could go there," Urunok mentioned.

A local from Duranmin village in Sundaun Province, Tom Diyus, explained the impact the partnership had on their community.

 "I want to thank New Zealand Aid for this program. As a ward member, as a counsellor of the village, I am very, very thankful and I’m very proud of the project."

He also emphasizes the impact of the program, acknowledging not only the immunization of children but also the treatment of various diseases.

Loop Author