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The need for well-trained health physicians is critical to improving health outcomes in PNG.

Hela Provincial Health Authority (PHA), for the first time, will see three resident doctors who are also recipients of the Oil Search Foundation Scholarship, begin their two -year residency program in the Province.

This milestone achievement provides a strong base to meet health workforce priorities in remote Hela.

The trio of doctors, Tillah Mahite, Aidan Papaol, and Ephraim Kavanagh are excited and committed to providing comprehensive and compassionate health care. There are certain requirements that must be met by a hospital before it can facilitate a resident.

These include having enough qualified Specialists to train the doctors and the availability of suitable accommodation to house them. Hela Provincial Hospital is well placed to meet these requirements, with its new staff accommodation and a full suite of specialists.

“We are delighted with the placement of doctors in Hela province for the next 2 years. This is a major achievement for Hela and Hela PHA and shows the trust and confidence we have developed over this short period of time.”
- Dr Anthony Wal Director of Clinical Services and acting CEO

Dr Wal adds that all this would not have been possible if we did not have the appropriate specialists. A big thank you, to our staff who have dedicated their time to serving the people of Hela province through the PHA.”

Stephanie Copus-Campbell, Oil Search Foundation’s Executive Director was also pleased that the Foundation was able to support the residents, who will now contribute meaningfully to society.

“When we first started to support the Hospital through our extensive partnership it was very challenging to attract doctors and we had to rely on foreign doctors and volunteers. We supported the PHA to consider a range of ways to attract PNG doctors to live and work in remote Hela including building accommodation. We also considered how, through our scholarship program, to place residents. We hope they will come to love Hela, like we do, and want to stay or return.” says Copus-Campbell.

‘It is truly amazing to see how far Hela has progressed under the leadership of the Board and management. It now has a full suite of specialists and the ability to support Residents.” she said.

Copus-Campbell also notes that the OSF Scholarship Program fits within the broader vision of the Foundation which is to contribute to the development of the next generation of Papua New Guinean leaders and improve social and economic outcomes for individuals and communities.

“We at the Foundation are so pleased to see that through OSF’s partnership with UPNG’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, these young Papua New Guineans were supported to complete their education, and will now train in a well-established and functioning organization, Hela PHA, to serve the health needs of the people of Hela and Papua New Guinea. “she says.

The three doctors have completed their Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery Program at the University of Papua New Guinea’s School of Medicine and Health Science in 2019 and will be graduating this year.