Doctor gives to his people

Weekender
COVER STORY
Jiwaka man spends own money to build a community health centre but keeps no detailed records of expenses – for his peace of mind…
Communities from Banz contributing food for the opening of the healthcare centre.

By JINA AMBA
A MEDICAL doctor who has a heart for his own people is hoping to give back to them by providing much needed vital health services.
Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr Malts Wai is from Banz, Jiwaka and he believes that with his medical training and knowledge he can provide health care to his rural unfortunatepeople.
“Warala health centre is situated about a kilometre north-east of Banz town along the way to Jimi. I thought about the health centre in 2013 and the ground breaking began then when preventable diseases such as hypertension with complications in stroke, heart attack, maternal and infant deaths were noted to be high around Banz area where now about 40,000 people are,” Wai said.
“The health department with the local MP gave assurances to support the centre but nothing has been given to kick start the project. After I completed my Masters in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2017, I started putting up the building in November 2018. Since then, the health department, the local MP and the provincial government have not come to assist despite messages delivered to them. However, I managed to complete the project myself with money from my fortnight salary alone over the last 26 months. The building was completed in mid-December 2020.”
Wai said he has not kept records of what he had spent on the clinic.
“The reason was that it was really painful, stressful and a financially traumatising experience when realising that I was using thousands of kina every time I purchased something from hardware shops. Thus, for my safety and peace, I kept no record of my spending for the building and the carpenters engaged in the work.
“All of the total cost of the building was from my fortnightly pay. I work as a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology in the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority.”
He said the target population for the facility was the 40,000 people of Banz but what was currently provided would be supplemented with other advanced services such as ultra sound scanning. Thus, the whole Jiwaka will surely access the services. Significantly, people from Jimi would also access theses services much more easily.
The clinic has four in-patient beds for acute cases, a labour and delivery room, a consultation and scan room and a pharmacy and storeroom. The clinic, if supplied with four staff members, can see up to 80 patients per day.
“The clinic is centrally located in Jiwaka. Thus, accessibility will not be a problem. I’m afraid manpower will surely be a problem.”
Wai said the services provided would basic primary care for any illness. Specialist clinics for obstetrics and gynecology cases will be provided on alternate weekends or whenever the need arises. Other surgical, medical and pediatric consultation services will be provided occasionally using local doctors who would be paid allowances to do that.
The sponsor for the specialist care would be Kanem Medical Services based in Mt Hagen. That would be done if Jiwaka provincial health authority is not able to assist with the proposed idea of bringing in specialists for consultations only.

A singsing group that participated during the opening facility.

Antenatal checks and deliveries will be done there.
The clinic will also treat treatable cancers such as low risk choriocarcinoma (a fast-growing cancer that occurs in a woman’s uterus) and do follow-ups.
“We are already seeing patients using staff from Kanem Medical Centre based in Mt Hagen until the Jiwaka health authority finds staff for the facility.”
The purpose of the clinic is to reach the unreachable patients such mothers and children, have supervised deliveries, emphasising on family planning and putting a stop to unplanned pregnancies among married couples and young girls and women.
“The things that motivated me to set up the facility are that the Jiwaka health authority is still in the infantile stage and almost all services in the peripheries are virtually non-functional; people are dying from preventable diseases and mothers are also dying from pregnancy-related problems,” Wai said.
He said the equipment used at the centre were usually supplied by Kanem Medical Centre.
“We don’t have separate equipment for the facility. An ultrasound scan machine with Doppler programme is already in the facility. It cost between K50 000 and K60 000.
“Another remarkable service that will be provided is full coverage of family planning services. That will be done by Marie Stopes PNG who have visited and used our facility for some time already. They were informed and are happy to come do a setup. Minor operative procedures such as tubal ligation will be done fortnightly. Mothers from all over Jiwaka will be brought there for the procedures.
“As a local person I feel relieved as this will benefit the very unfortunate, and unprivileged people in the villages with no cost attached. I work in a different environment but can provide consultations from time to time when the need arises.
“We need funding to set up a  bigger ward for in-patients, four staff houses, two shower rooms and two toilet facilities for patients and relatives. We also need two delivery beds. We would now be using ordinary beds for deliveries.
“Funding is a problem. Nobody trusts me but I have an innermost conviction in me that I have a mission to complete and to complete it successfully.
“With this conviction I am ready to provide honest acquittals to anybody coming in to support the people of Banz and Jiwaka with the much-needed service,” Wai said.

One thought on “Doctor gives to his people

Leave a Reply