The National, Monday 6th May 2013
By MALUM NALU
HELP is under way for children in the New Guinea Islands (NGI) region with special surgical needs.
Petroleum company Islands Petroleum is putting together a medical project “Katim Na Halivim Pikinini (Operate and Help Children)” next month to carry out operations on children from around the region.
The company’s owner and general manager, Paul Bluett, yesterday confirmed that five medical professionals would be visiting Kokopo from June 9-15 and children with special surgery needs from around the region would be referred to Kokopo for surgery.
“Dr Mathew McLee, deputy chief surgeon Mamose and a paediatric surgeon is leading the project,” he said.
“We have also confirmed two Australian specialists for this visit and a young PNG doctor under training on paediatric surgeries.
“We have doctors from the NGI provincial hospitals – Buka, Kavieng, Kimbe, Lorengau, Nonga and Vunapope – being consulted for this project.
“Nonga and Vunapope hospital doctors and registrars on training, including nursing sisters, will take part in this medical project.
“Doctors are screening patients from around the region this month to determine cases to undergo surgeries.
“We are also inviting business houses to support this cause.”
Bluett said since 1993, McLee and a team of local and international volunteer doctors carried out specialist visits to hospitals around the country with an aim to improve lives of children by conducting a range of surgical procedures which are not readily available in PNG.
“In the process, they educated and trained other national health care professionals,” he said.
“Dr Mathew is very passionate about educating, training, and transferring skills to local paediatric surgeons throughout PNG.
“However, the government and the Health Department do not always fund these special visits to our hospitals and patients’ list grows over the years.
“Dr Mathew and his team of experts have over the years relied on funding from NGOs. The last visit was in 2009 to Bougainville. This year, Islands Petroleum has committed funding to support this project.”
Bluett said the company was giving something back to the community it operated in.
“We recognise a need in the community we operate in,” he said.
“We support our people in health, education, sports and community activities.