Western Highlander Alois Nants is providing free services for villagers using his expertise and finances with help from his family and other supporters who donate materials. Since his first two clinics word has got around so more patients are requesting his services. He hopes to continue the voluntary consultations and also get others involved to one day make the services available in all parts of the province.
By MARTHA DERUAGE
WITH the desire and heart to help his community, Alois Nants started running free physiotherapy clinics in Western Highlands early this year.
Nants is from mixed parentage of Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands.
So far, he ran two free physiotherapy clinics for the Yamka Pepka people or Mt Hagen district in Western Highlands, and also the surrounding communities.
Nants started this year but his work was affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic but he plans to do more once he and the communities have adjusted to the ‘new normal’ in the pandemic.
He is a physiotherapist currently employed by the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority.
He graduated from Divine Word University in 2014 and completed his residency in 2017 with the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority at the Mt Hagen General Hospital.
Nants was previously employed by High Performance Sport PNG providing physiotherapy service to national athletes for nearly four years.
“I always have the heart to serve people and with this drive I have been able to do what I love,” Nants said.
“Coming from a village background I saw the need for physiotherapy services to be brought to the village level and I came up with the idea of doing free physiotherapy clinics.
“A lot of middle aged people to the elderly were complaining of back aches, joint pains, obesity` and muscle pains. Then I saw that if I could provide them with physiotherapy help it would ease their musculoskeletal problems.
“The services I provide for them are physiotherapy assessment and treatment of especially musculoskeletal problems, rehabilitation and assessment of sports injuries, rehabilitation programmes for musculoskeletal problems, general health advice and proper techniques of lifting and posture in doing activities of daily living, referrals if musculoskeletal problems are associated with underlying medical conditions and general exercise regimes for those who need exercise for their wellbeing.
“I am not paid by anybody to provide these services, I do it because I love being physiotherapist and I dream of PNG understanding what physiotherapy is and what it can do for them.
“I don’t except payment from people or charge any cost.
“I voluntarily give my time and expertise freely to help people with their musculoskeletal problems.
“I set up with a tent surrounded by a canvas and using a portable massage bed creating a small consultation room for me to use.
“I set up at the front my house.
“Before that I carried out awareness in the community that I was going to run the clinic and my normal consultations were done between 9am and 3pm.”
Since he started working, he tries to run the clinic on Saturdays when he is free.
Nants ran two clinics already; the first on Aug 7 and the second on Aug 28, with over 50 patients and an overwhelming number of requests to run more clinics in the future.
“I was planning on running the third one last month, however with the surge of Covid-19 cases in WHP I have put it on hold and look to run more once health measures are uplifted,” he said.
When asked about his future plans on how to continue providing such free services, Nants said: “I hope and dream to run a weekly free physiotherapy clinic in the near future not only for the people in my community but for the nearby villages by being mobile.
“If people are willing to volunteer and help, I hope to get more physiotherapists involved so this important service can reach all the rural population in the Hagen Central District of WHP and, if possible, the whole province.
“Currently I am using materials donated to me free.
“I used those materials that day and give them back.
“I am sourcing consumables and treatment items using my own money and from support from my father Micah Watts Nants and Nants family.”
Nants said in order for him to have it run on a weekly basis he needed financial support from donors and government to source materials, consumables, treatment items, logistic, and a physiotherapist that could be available to assist him.
He said people were resources to this nation and the Government should prioritise people’s health.
“Every life matters, a healthy nation is a wealthy nation,” the volunteer physio said.