Patrol – North Fly, Western Province, Hawenai Health Centre, 5-12th October 2020

Presenting the Standard Treatment Manual books to Hawenai Health Centre staffs, surrounding are the Mother Child Health (MCH) patrol team

November 2020

From the 5th to 12th October, an integrated health outreach patrol, consisting of ADI and ECPNG Health Services staff, visited Hawenai Health Centre and its eight catchment villages in Western Province to deliver immunisations, clinical care, and community health education.

Hawenai Health centre is located in the North part of North-Fly District of Western Province. The area is known as “People from the North Awin Area” which is the second largest populated rural area in North-Fly District. Many of the villages in this area are only accessible by crossing the river, which flows down from the Star Mountains, and trekking on foot. Villages located further inland from the river can take between two to six hours to reach and many had not received health outreach for over three years.

Trekking to rural villages around Hawenai HC catchment area

In one instance, the patrol team met a five-year-old boy who had been showing signs of a high-fever and weight-loss for the past month. The team immediately recognised symptoms of malaria and did a rapid diagnostic test. Within five minutes the test confirmed mix infection malaria and the boy was treated for the disease.

Some sorcery beliefs exist in this area, but they can be detrimental to a person’s health. ADI talks through the evidence-based symptoms and provides education for that individual to have a better an understanding of their own wellbeing.

In this instance the community was provided with information about the symptoms of malaria in order to dispel their concerns of sorcery.

In total the team examined 206 patients over the twelve-day patrol. Patients were treated for diseases such as respiratory disease, tuberculosis, malaria and diarrhoeal diseases. Many children in the remote areas had not had previous access to vaccines. As a result, the team administered 517 vaccines to 154 children during patrol. Community education was provided on COVID-19, healthy living, malaria prevention and hand washing at Hawenai Primary School. In addition, ADI supplied 100 MUAC bands which were used to measure the nutrition scores for 169 children.

COVID-19 awareness training at Hawenai Primary school

The team intends to do a follow-up patrol early next year to continue providing immunisation and clinical health support. The local knowledge of community health workers who joined the patrol was invaluable and ADI looks forward to working with ECPNG Health Services in the future.

With many thanks to the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) for their continued support in providing health services to rural PNG communities.

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