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OSF rep presenting to the participants of the workshop in Mendi

Senior officials from the Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority (SH PHA) and Nipa-Kutubu District Development Authority, Officers in Charge (OIC) from the Kutubu Health facilities, church managers, and representatives from Oil search Foundation (OSF) recently participated in a week-long workshop in Mendi. This event was the first time for all these partners to be in the same room, talking about the challenges facing health workers who work in very tough conditions in remote areas of Southern Highlands.

The purpose of this meeting was to work together on ways of improving health services to the people of Kutubu and to make the most of all resources, wisdom, and skills. Most importantly it was about how to get immunisation programs, ante natal care for expectant mums, treatment of preventable diseases, pandemic response support plus other basic services into hard-to-reach communities.

SH PHA Director Curative Health, Dr Sa’avu said, “OSF has been our great associate since our inception and continues to work with us, especially to get into inaccessible places of the province. Kutubu is one district in SHP that is geographically isolated, most times we are unable to visit our facilities there because of its location. This meeting allowed us to meet face-to-face, with our OIC’s, to hear their concerns but at the same time look at alternative ways to address issues in a sustainable way.”

OSF’s Dr Pyakalya noted that churches are important partners in Papua New Guinea (PNG) as they deliver services to many communities.  He said, “OSF will work closely with the PHA and Evangelical Church of PNG to make sure health workers get the support, training and medicines they need to help protect the people of Kutubu from preventable illnesses and to respond well when they are sick”.

Micheal Abel, Baguale Health Centre in Nipa-Kutubu said, “An enlightening workshop indeed. A session that was conducted by John Piel from OSF on facility-based budgeting allowed us to understand the process of health financing. This was a real eye opener for many of us, now with better understanding, we should be able to plan, budget and manage health services better to address our highest priorities.”

OSF Senior Field Operations Manager, Milton Kwaipo said, “Over the next year, we will see a lot of improvements in the services delivered to the people of Kutubu. If we do all work together, we can achieve a lot. As a private sector partner, we can offer logistical support and tap into our network of stakeholders who want to help improve health indicators. The impossible can become possible.”

Workshop participant group shot in Mendi

Workshop participant group shot in Mendi