Meet Joe. Joe is an 11 year old boy from New Ireland Province in PNG with a smile that lights up a room. He lives in a community so remote that until ADI volunteer doctors and healthcare workers arrived by boat late last year, Joe had never received medical treatment despite his significant disability. Australian Paediatrician and ADI patrol doctor Penny Uther met Joe during an unscheduled patrol stop.
“I was struck by how bright and motivated he was,” Dr Penny (pictured below with Joe) recalls. “Despite his disability, he had taught himself to write with his feet and was keen to show us some of his work. At the invitation of the chairman of the village, we visited Joe’s family home and met his parents.”
Joe was born with a congenital joint contracture (or curving of the joints). Without no medical services, his family have had to cope as best that they can with the challenges life has presented Joe. They have been able to devise a number of creative solutions to help their son complete the activities of daily life including the construction of a small canoe for independent transport. However the future remains uncertain for this cheerful young man.
“In Australia, Joe’s condition would have been diagnosed antenatally and successfully treated with surgery and intensive physical therapy,” Dr Penny continues. “Expectant mothers in PNG have very limited access to this sort of medical care and children like Joe, born with a disability, receive little or no medical treatment or therapy. We were able to provide Joe’s family with information about schooling options for him and are in the process of working to secure suitable aids to further assist Joe with day to day activities however, sadly, there can be no real reversal of his condition as we simply found him too late!”
Papua New Guinea is just 6 km north of Australia yet the World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks PNG as having the worst health status in the entire Pacific region. When it comes to health outcomes, our two nations couldn’t be further apart. Thanks to the generosity of supporters such as yourself, however, things are starting to change
Over the past 12 months, your financial support has enabled ADI volunteer doctors and healthcare workers to deliver more than 24,000 clinical services and provide public health education for 10,600 community members. This has had a significant impact on the health of rural and remote Papua New Guineans – however more help is needed.
Our dream is to reach as many children like Joe as early as possible so that we can deliver timely and life-changing medical intervention. Which is why we are writing to you in the lead up to Christmas.
Could we ask you to dig deep once more and support our vision for a healthier PNG? Will you make a tax deductible gift that will continue to give long after the Christmas tree has been packed away?
See some examples of the real impact your donation will have.
On behalf of all of us here at ADI and our partners in PNG, thank you for your passion, support and generosity over the years. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and we look forward to partnering with you again in 2019!
Dr Klara Henderson