Study support focuses on health

Youth & Careers

OVER the past 50 years, more than 12,000 Papua New Guineans have studied in Australia, with study and research in health remaining a focus area.
Three women have demonstrated how Australia Awards scholars and alumni are making their mark on service delivery and capacity development in PNG’s health sector.
Betty Mundua, from Chimbu completed a master of clinical nursing at the University of Sydney as an Australia Awards scholar in 2013.
She is currently the Infection Control Coordinator attached to the Infection Control Branch of the Angau Hospital in Lae, Morobe.
Mundua’s diverse role provides oversight in ensuring that infection control and prevention measures are implemented throughout the hospital.
“(I’m responsible for) training of health care workers in line with infection control measures, doing infection control audits and surveillance.
“I’m also responsible for hospital waste management and hospital hygiene,” Mundua said.
Mundua recently delivered training for the hospital staff from 29 clinical wards and 36 non-clinical sections, with a focus on the World Health Organisation’s “My 5 moments for hand hygiene” principles.
“Infection control is about doing the little things like keeping our hands clean all the time,’ Mundua said.
Mundua is also working on a colour coding system for different sections of the hospital to prevent cross contamination.
She highlights: “The Australia Awards scholarship enabled me to have a different way of thinking and analysing things and this is now helping me in my work.”
Lorraine Moore is also contributing to the PNG health sector after graduating with a diploma in general nursing from St. Barnabas School of Nursing, in Milne Bay, under the Australia Awards In-PNG Scholarships programme in 2016.
Moore says seeing her mother take care of her sick uncle inspired her to study nursing.
Since 2017, Moore has been working at Manus Hospital.
“It was my first time to leave home (Milne Bay) and come to Manus. I missed my family.
“However, seeing the conditions here at the hospital, more staff were needed compared to back home,” Moore said.
As a general nurse, Moore supports the sister in charge at the adult outpatient and the accidents and emergency unit by attending to patient cases and collating data for reporting purposes.
Moore says she loves taking care of her patients and supporting their recovery.
Recently completed Australia Awards scholar Lucy Solomon participated in the certificate in family and child health short course award at Queensland University of Technology.
Solomon is a midwife by profession and has worked as the unit coordinator for the Obstetrics and Gynaecology ward at Kerema Hospital in Gulf. A role she has played for almost 15 years.
Solomon’s role involves vital responsibility to lead and ensure positive outcomes in her team, as well as teach and mentor colleagues.
A key reason she applied for the Australia Awards Short Course, as she points out, was the need to learn new knowledge and skills and expand her capability to identify needs and implement care to improve local child and family health outcomes in line with the national goals.
Solomon has identified several lessons she can take back to her work in PNG, notably in project management.
“I have identified the issue in my community of pregnant women having unsupervised births.
“This poses a high risk to both mother and infant.
“I plan to involve my whole team and partners to identify a health improvement project for the community,” Solomon said.
Like many other Australia Awards scholars and alumni, these three women are making a direct contribution to healthcare in PNG.
Australia Awards’ graduate impact in critical sectors such as midwifery and nursing which are making a real difference to communities around the country.
Taking midwifery as an example, the Australia Awards programme to date has awarded nearly 600 In-PNG scholarships in this sector, with a successful completion rate of nearly 100 per cent and impressive contributions in the workforce post-study.
Mundua, Moore and Solomon agree that – beyond their personal achievements – contributing over the long-term to an improved health system for Papua New Guineans is a major motivation.
“I can’t do it all by myself, but to continue networking and sharing experiences towards the implementation of projects that hopefully will see a big impact on health care in PNG,” Solomon said.


  • Congratulations she a true PNG the the way we can take back PNG. We just celebrated 44 years in the last 50 years only 12000 we must focus to gain International qualifications.

  • Too much focus on nurses training and very limited training or upskilling of doctors with international qualifications.
    That is the reason so many things go wrong in hospitals.

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