STUDENTS attending the St. Barnabas School of Nursing in the picturesque town of Alotau in Milne Bay Province began a new academic year with over eighty brand new medical books and training aids that ranged from hundred Rapid 10 Second Thermometers to a life size human torso. The text books and training aids were donated to the school by the Oil Search Health Foundation through its Maternal and Child Health Program. The items were officially handed over to Noreen Tabua, Principal of the St. Barnabas School of Nursing (SBSoN) by Penny O’Connor, Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program Manager recently. Mrs Tabua was extremely impressed with the range and quality of text books and training aids and highly commended the MCH Team and the Oil Search Health Foundation (OSHF) for supporting the learning of her nursing students. “I had asked the MCH team for these items and they have really come good. I am over the moon!” said the elated principal. The OSHF Maternal and Child Health Program has traditionally operated in the Oil Search project areas of the Southern Highlands and Gulf Provinces since 2009, building capacity for rural and remote health staff with on-the ground coaching, mentoring and support. In 2011, a World Bank report titled “PNG Health Workforce Crisis: A Call to Action” urged the MCH team to investigate other ways to support the development of the PNG health workforce. That was when a public-private partnership was established with the St. Barnabas School of Nursing to help build capacity, resulting in highly competent nurses who will be trained with an appreciation of the importance of primary health care. In 2013 this public-private partnership supported the delivery by a master trainer in the MCH Team of a Preceptor Workshop for clinicians and conducted an Integrated Community Health Workshop with a field practical for third year SBSoN students. Three computers were also donated throughout this period of engagement which then paved the way for a capacity building program.
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