Dr Jenny Hamper is an experienced GP who is passionate about changing health outcomes for the people of PNG. She returned to New Ireland Province in 2019 to continue the work she undertook for ADI in 2013 and 2014.
“The ADI team are enthusiastic and energetic and treat hundreds of people during each remote patrol clinic. I remember being very busy most days. I tried to see patients with the health workers at my side in order to do some case based teaching. However, owing to the high numbers of patients, this was sometimes difficult.
“While on patrol, the ADI maternal and child health nurse does pap smears and STI checks as well as assessing and immunising children where possible. The Physio see patients with back and knee pains, teaching them how to lift properly and do simple rehabilitative exercises. More importantly, they often find disabled people they did not previously know about, and are thus able to arrange for appropriate equipment to be delivered and follow up to be arranged. Our Dentists visit local schools and screen hundreds of children, as well as treating adults at our clinics. Unfortunately severe dental decay is very common, necessitating tooth extraction in many cases. Our team members do malaria, syphilis, HIV/AIDS and haemoglobin checks, which often highlight the huge prevalence of malaria cases and also severe anaemia which can lead to maternal death during childbirth if left untreated. They alsoassist in TB case finding and follow-up. The HIV & STD worker gives ‘awareness’ talks to school students, community groups and patients waiting on verandas. And our Doctors deliver babies, reset bones, diagnose a variety illnesses and conditions and work to upskill local health workers to ensure communities have ongoing medical support once the ADI team has moved on.
In addition to a supportive and educational role, and seeing the many patients that arrive to be seen by the doctor, our doctors are often called to assist in delivering babies, assess and manage critically ill or injured patients that often just happen to turn up when we are there ( including the challenge of trying to arrange transfer of these patients out to Kavieng ) and treat fractures and abscesses and injuries, all without the modern medical facilities and drugs that we take for granted in Australia.
“I have many good memories of my previous time in PNG including staff treating me to a singing session one night – beautiful strong voices in glorious harmony which was very good sleep medicine! I was always looked after very well – receiving advice of the best way to wash wearing a ‘lap lap’ (sarong), making sure I was safe if I had to use the outdoor toilet pit late at night, and trying to teach me Pidgin (my attempts at saying many of the words were a source of great amusement).”