Rong Bing is a cardiologist with a desire to expand personal and professional horizons before pursuing subspecialty training. Managing patrols delivered all that the couple wanted. Clinical Nurse Educator Kiasha McInnis is a Clinical Nurse Educator trained in paediatric intensive care with a passion for giving back to community.
Prepare for a total paradigm shift; Australia’s closest neighbour is a world apart.
Swamp, jungle and mountains. Western Province is no walk in the park.
One gravel mining road and the largest river in PNG. A plethora of waterways, jungle tracks and bush airstrips. Eight local doctors for a population of 180,000.
At the end of the line: a largely rural population with limited access to healthcare, where the closest aid post may be many hours of difficult walking away.
In the one aid post: there is one undertrained, unsupported and underpaid community healthcare worker struggling with no running water, no electricity and often no supplies.
A complete change in mentality. The most basic treatments – when available – can save lives. The cost of fuel for a dinghy ride becomes a crucial part of the treatment algorithm. Evidence-based first-world medicine bows to the practical laws of supply, sustainability, cost and sangoma – traditional sorcery.
Rare diseases are not so rare; expect to see TB, HIV, Buruli ulcers, yaws, filariasis and pot-bellied, malnourished children. Unsupervised bush deliveries – literally out of the village in the bush because of custom beliefs – remain the order of the day. Common diseases in the West are becoming more common – hypertension, dyslipidaemia, diabetes, strokes.
Routine immunisation of un-vaccinated 5 year old children, transport of a massive and disabling Buruli ulcer, treatment of severe malaria, anaesthetic assistance for emergency Caesarean section, diagnosing TB in toddlers and grateful thanks from staff for education about home-made spacers, hypertension and the perils of indomethacin – a handful of the many and varied reasons for outreach in Western Province.
Welcome to Western Province in 2016; next stop – Cairns.