Helping build a better health service

Weekender

By HAZEL KUTKUE

IF you ever walk the hallways of the Port Moresby General Hospital on any given day, you will get to witness firsthand hardworking health staff striving with limited resources in an institution claimed to be the most advanced of all the government health facilities in the country.
The accelerating population growth combined with health systems and facilities that have remained largely the same over the years present a pretty grim picture.
Health workers struggle to get through lengthy patient queues and lists and that consistently grow as the day drags on.
That aside, they also have the added responsibility of teaching medical students in the hospital.
It has been a tradition established over the past years that at the end of their training, medical students studying under the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) programme at the University of Papua New Guinea present a gift to one of the hospitals they have been training under.
Students in their fourth and fifth year spend a huge chunk of their time in the hospitals being trained by doctors and other healthworkers. The gifts are a token of appreciation.
Teaching health facilities include Port Moresby General Hospital and rural hospitals in certain districts such as Kompiam, in Enga, and some urban clinics in Port Moresby.
Under the theme “Give for a Life”, the 2017 fifth year medical students have been doing fundraisers since their second year of study to raise money for the gift.
They have so far raised 10 per cent of their targeted amount. Part of the funds raised will go towards a corporate dinner fundraiser for another cause they are supporting.
“We are aiming at supporting the Respiratory Unit in the Internal Medicine Discipline of PMGH. We want to purchase a new spirometry machine which aids in the diagnosis of pulmonary diseases and malignancies,” says class treasurer Scholastica Kaina.
The group has received a lot of support, from immediate families and the general public.
“I think it’s a great opportunity not only for young doctors but for people from different walks of life get to be a part of something meaningful by supporting the fundraising. Not everyone can be doctors or health care professionals but they can participate to help improve the standards of health care for the nation as a whole, Kaina said.
Despite it being a challenging mission to raise funds while tied down with fulltime studies, the students have managed to raise a sizeable amount of money.
They are currently selling trendy printed shirts that come in various sizes, which have screen-printed and iron-on designs.
A fundraising dance is also being planned. The budding doctors also plan to conduct basic health checks at public places like Vision City and Waterfront Foodworld at weekends where a donation box will be in place for contributions.
The group is also using social media to promote their fundraising events.
“All these guarantee that your money goes a long way in helping Papua New Guinea reach its development goals in reducing the disease burdens of the country.”

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