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Staff of Kikori Health Services embark on their journey to conduct the Health patrol in Baina village.

Group of health patrols standing together holding supplies

Remote Gulf Province communities have welcomed an outreach patrol to several villages, delivered by Kikori Health Services, as part of the Gulf Provincial Health Authority’s (GPHA) commitment to improve access to basic services. The patrol brought to many isolated locations a range of vital health services including immunisations, family planning, tuberculosis treatment follow-up, general outpatient screening, and Covid-19 awareness.

The recent integrated outreach patrol took place in Baina village which is located about 230 kilometres from Kikori Station.

More than 130 children under five years of age were vaccinated, 372 outpatients were seen for a range of illnesses and eight TB patients had their treatment progress reviewed.

Kikori District Health Services (Urban Clinic) conducted the patrol as part of the Accelerated Immunisation and Health System Strengthening Program (AIHSS), which primarily increases delivery and coverage of routine immunisations for vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Partnerships with donors are important in health if we are to bring back services to remote communities. We cannot do this alone”
- Dr Paul Wari CEO, GPHA

Timothy Ananias, Urban Clinic Officer-in-Charge and patrol team leader said “the community was delighted to see the first health patrol in many years. The Baina Aid Post has been closed for more than a decade.”

“It was a long four-hour drive through slippery roads and thick mud, then another hour on a dinghy up the Kikori River, amidst the drizzling rain and hungry mosquitoes. But it was important that we proceeded with our health patrol,” he said.

“The community had been anticipating our visit, which was evident from the numbers that turned up to receive services.”

“Some mothers who brought their babies for immunisation shed tears of joy, saying how worried they were for their children,” he continued.

Woman sitting down having her health checked

“We were able to raise awareness on Covid-19 and the ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many locals did not know about the disease and so it was an ideal opportunity to educate them.”

AIHSS is a Government of Papua New Guinea initiative supported by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and with technical assistance from the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund. The Provincial Health Authority and Oil Search Foundation provides implementation support for the Gulf Province component of the program.