From our Sydney offices, via Brisbane, via Port Moresby to Kavieng was the first step in what is a new and exciting adventure for both myself and ADI in our quest for a healthier PNG. As expected upon landing in Kavieng, New Ireland, the air hung heavy and the humidity gave me a warm welcome as I piled my worldly belongings into the back of a Landcruiser and jettisoned off to the ADI house. Sitting pretty on the hill looking out over Nusa Island, this was to be my base for the next 10 days. And what a 10 days it was, as the new Program Manager for ADI in West New Britain, deciding to ease into the transition from the smoke filled skies of Sydney to the, pandanus and banana leaf haze of the Bismarck Archipelago was a great option.
Watching the New Ireland team prepare for their first remote health patrol for 2020 was insightful, and a few days spent swimming through turquoise waters always relaxes the soul. From New Ireland, it was off to Kimbe, West New Britain, where the real work would begin. I met our Senior Project Manager, Yaman, the day of arrival and we quickly got to work meeting our friends and contacts at the Provincial Health Authority and the Governor’s Office. We managed to secure a flight with our supporters at Niugini Helicopters to the remote south coast of West New Britain to a locality named Gasmata. Rarely visited by health workers, we were the first outreach scoping patrol since 1996!
Lobster for breakfast lunch and dinner and boat rides amongst the sub-health centres that maintain the wellbeing of the inhabitants in this difficult and remote terrain were surreal. Flying fish darted by as we gathered information that will be collated and help support our future endeavors to these hard to reach places.
So far so good. We are making extremely good progress and already have a Family Planning in-service scheduled for the end of March, 2020. Our first doctor to the province will also be arriving in March which will hopefully bring much needed support, training and educational services to the region and very much begin to cement ADI’s presence within the community.
Kindest Regards from the volcanic hills of West New Britain, Jack
(pictured here giving the thumbs up)