Born small, grown big: Dr Terence’s story

Gembogl Health Centre Officer Alois Gende (left) welcoming Dr Terrence Kee.

AFTER Terence Kee was prematurely born on Feb 4, 1984, weighing only 1.8 kg, in the Kundiawa General Hospital, his parents John and Betty Kee prayed that he would become a doctor one day.
They were allowed to take him home to the family home in Kundiawa town after spending the first six months of his life in the hospital’s special care nursery. Terence respected his parent’s wish and while in school set his mind on becoming a doctor.
“That decision was further strengthened when my mother succumbed to breast cancer in 2004.”
Today he is Dr Terence Kee, recently appointed to be in charge of the Gembogl Health Centre in Kundiawa-Gembogl district.
He is from the Dom tribe. Dad John worked for the Chimbu provincial administration.
Terence was in the Science Foundation year at the University of PNG when mum Betty died of breast cancer. Terence withdrew from the university but returned in 2005.
In 2010, he was out on the street again but re-enrolled in 2011, and graduated in 2012.
He had attended the Gon Primary School in Kundiawa town from 1992 to 1999 from Grade One to Grade Eight where he was awarded the Dux award.
He moved to the Kundiawa Lutheran Day High School where he completed Grade 10 in 2001 and received another dux award.
Terence completed Grade 11 and 12 at the Rosary Kondiu Secondary School scoring high Grade Point Average (GPA) marks, qualifying him for university in 2004.
After completing the residency term serving around the country, he ended up back in Kundiawa in 2017 joining the provincial health authority.
“I worked at the Sir Joseph Nombri Kundiawa General Hospital until this year when I was posted to the Gembogl Health Centre as the Kundiawa-Gembogl District Medical Officer.”
He managed the Covid-19 pandemic when it hit the country in March last year, in charge of the Covid-19 isolation ward and triaging centre with Sr Babra Kagl, Sr Angela Kundi.
“We worked very hard and recruited more nurses to fight the Coronavirus.”
The first case detected in Chimbu was of a pastor in Kundiawa who had just returned from a conference in Goroka.

“ That decision (to become a doctor) was further strengthened when my mother succumbed to breast cancer in 2004.”
Dr Terence Kee witnessing a presentation of a Kama Scholarship assistant programme in a school in Gumine district last year.

“I suspected that he had the coronavirus and told Sisters Kagl and Kundi to wear their personal protection equipment (PPEs) when we treated him.
“We become the front-liners of Covid-19 cases guided by emergency physician Dr Bobby Welsh.”
The Chimbu Provincial Health Authority set up a 12-bed isolation centre and put protocols in place.
They set up oxygen concentrators and followed treatment guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation.
“Many cases we treated recovered. It was a challenge for nurses and doctors. I thank many coming out of the nursing colleges who joined us in fighting the Covid-19. They gained invaluable experience. God will bless them for the love and care they have for the sick who are the images of God.”
Dr Terence hopes to pursue a Masters in Medicine degree but wants to continue serving in the rural areas.
The underweight child born prematurely that day 37 years ago is growing to be a “big man” – repaying all the love and care accorded to him.