Internet for rural health in PNG vital
THE installation of internet in remote community health care centres is crucial, the PNG Sustainable Development Programme Ltd (SDP) says.
The PNG SDP and Kacific had installed and provided internet connections for community health centres in Western to help with effective communication in providing health service and saving lives.
The organisation said in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kacific collaborated with donors to provide free satellite dishes plus short-term free internet services for health initiatives in Asia Pacific.
“In Papua New Guinea, the SDP has taken up this offer to connect 30 remote health facilities in the Western with satellite internet,” it said.
“SDP’s aerial health patrols (AHP) flies into remote communities on a regular basis to deliver primary health care (vaccinations, Wash programmes, family planning and maternal health and outpatient clinics).”
Four technicians were able to use the SDP aircraft to deliver and install satellite dishes and the solar equipment required to power the system (1kW solar kits and LED light fittings).
SDP said installation of internet connection in these remote communities came with logistical challenges, including airstrip issues, schedule disruptions due to weather and technical problems in configuring the service and complication of the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in delay of equipment supplies and increased restrictions.
“Several of the communities do not have airstrips so lengthy dinghy trips through swamps, rivers and streams were undertaken,” it said.
“One trip was cancelled at the last minute due to stormy weather and rough conditions.
“SDP connected 27 active sites from 30 sites as it makes a big difference for communication for the remote communities despite the challenges.”
Health workers from several clinics, including the Lake Murray health centre, Sasereme clinic, Habi aid post, Wipim health centre and Hesalibi aid post were using Kacific’s satellite broadband service to help combat the Covid-19.
When the internet was connected, the health workers were able to be informed about the Covid-19 pandemic and could stay updated with the latest developments in PNG and abroad.
“The Habi villagers had to walk three hours to Mougulu through the rough mountain terrain for medical help prior to the installation of their satellite dish and internet connection.”
According to SDP, community leaders and people were thankful for high-speed satellite internet connected recently.
In one case in March, a snake-bite case was reported by the Suabi aid post health worker at around 7pm.
“The Mission Aviation Fellowship were informed and on standby to pick the patient at first light, while the health care worker stayed in ongoing contact with the AHP health extension officers (HEO) and doctors and with their support, constantly monitored the patient for 24 hours.
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