By ANDREW ALPHONSE
FOR the first time after nearly 20 years, doctors from the Tari General Hospital are making health patrol visits to rural areas in the Hela region of Southern Highlands province.
This was the initiative of Dr Waima Wiai, director of medical services at Tari hospital, supported by hospital CEO, Dr Bravy Koensong and provincial health adviser Thomas Anda.
Dr Wiai said the Tari hospital’s rural clinical outreach programme was shelved and non-existent for some 20 years ago due to the non availability of doctors at the hospital.
After the arrival of Dr Koensong and other doctors, with an improved medical care now at the hospital, Dr Wiai decided to re-active the rural outreach programme.
Dr Wiai said the outreach programme was not carried out by other hospitals in the country except for Goroka Base Hospital which was the most active.
Dr Wiai spent three years at the Goroka hospital before coming to Tari and decided to use his experience to help the Hela people.
He said the programme was supported by the addition of three resident medical officers (RMO) from the public health division of the University of PNG (UPNG).
The three RMOs included Dr Annette Ketalu from Tari who would be posted to Hulia loca level government council area, Dr Viviene Kuma from Honiara in the Solomon Islands would be sent to Margarima, and Dr Benjamin Thomas from Enga would be sent to Koroba.
The team would conduct all medical care during their visit to these areas including checking on patients, providing medication, sexual health awareness and education, antenatal care, family planning and referrals of emergency cases.
“They would provide quality clinical health and medical care to the patients at their doorsteps.
“It is like doctors going to the patients instead of patients coming to the doctors in Tari and Mendi,” Dr Wiai said.
He said during the visits, these RMOs would be supported in their work by district health managers and nurses.
Dr Wiai said the RMOs would go out this week and return next week.
He said the hospital planned to organise more rural patrols with a full team of health workers to most parts of Hela including Lake-Kopiago, Mt Bosave and Strickland area.