FIVE medical officers of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) visited the Wisconsin National Guard in early June as part of the United States defence department’s State Partnership Programme.
The team visited the 135th Medical Company Area Support in Waukesha, the Wisconsin Military Academy at Fort McCoy, and the 115th Medical Group at Truax Field in Madison.
Wisconsin National Guard’s state partnership coordinator Major Jessica Kelly said the visit was eventful.
“The intent of this visit was to build upon the medical introductory exchange that took place in fiscal year 2022,” she said.
Kelly noted that members of the Wisconsin National Guard had visited PNG to observe how the PNGDF’s medical teams operated and this visit was a follow up.
She said the exchange was unique as it incorporated both army and air national guard representation.
She also said they learned that the PNGDF had recently prioritised mental health as an issue in the force.
“We learned that PNG is starting to emphasise and incorporate more conversations on mental health and whole health concepts,” she said.
The five who represented the PNGDF consisted of PNGDF military hospital’s second-in-command and a medical lab scientific officer Major Louisa Wanma; Captain Philomena Marai, who is a registered nursing officer serving at the Lombrum Naval Base, Manus; commanding officer of the PNGDF preventative health platoon and an environmental health officer Captain Ryan Manzin; Lieutenant Job Barnabas, who is a mental health nurse; and, warrant officer Jerry Aihi, who is an experienced community health worker, and the officer-in-charge of combat medical training for soldiers and recruits at the PNGDF Goldie River Training Depot.
The officers learned and exchanged practices and techniques on the fundamentals of medical training, suicide prevention, behavioural health, medical readiness, combat medic resiliency training, tactical trauma assessment, massive hemorrhage control, wound management, shock recognition, fractures, care under fire and preventative medicine.
Aihi said they were privileged to have been able to visit.
He said they received medical training aids from Australia and New Zealand but they lacked resources.
He said the US service members received personal first aid kits while PNGDF members did not.
“When we go for our civil duties or actions, we go without this; if they are injured, we have to get support from the civilian hospitals — we take our soldiers directly to their hospitals for medical treatment,” he said.
Manzin also noted that the Wisconsin National Guard had more resources and dedicated support for its training.
“We don’t have that support, so we do improvise,” he said.
“Whatever (Aihi) does is all improvised.”
The National / PNG Health Watch
PNG Health News
This websites provides all the latest Health News , insurance, health tips, health and scholarships in Papua New Guinea