Training Local Staff

Health Training
New Ireland and Western Province

ADI targets community health workers and registered nurses, who typically miss out on professional development opportunities in favour of more senior staff.

The aim is to increase clinical knowledge and improve clinical practice of local health staff.

  • History taking, examination, diagnoses, investigations and treatment.
  • Topics determined by health staff surveys, individual requests and doctor feedback.
  • Mentoring and advocating for clinical and administrative staff

ADI training employs active, case based and participant-centred learning techniques.

  • Classroom demonstrations
  • Problem solving games
  • Case-based teaching
  • Group work

Participants join in physically, cognitively and emotionally.

Participants support and mentor each other.

Content is engaging and relevant to participants’ own lives and specific challenges.

Doctors promote responsibility, confidence and self-esteem as students become responsible for their own learning and recognise their own capacity and self-efficacy.

Training In Action

In-service training on New Ireland 2014

Dr Merrilee Frankish
“We learnt not to try to teach too much, to teach in Tok Pisin as much as possible and to make most of the work practical and case based […]

The detailed evaluations made clear that participants loved the interactive group work  [perhaps because it] fits in with PNG’s supportive wontok system.”

Training Format

  • 2x 5 day workshops
  • 30 health workers, Lemakot School of Nursing
  • 22 rural health staff, Namatanai.


  • Associate Professor Lin Lock from the University of Technology in Sydney
  • ADI volunteer doctors Merrilee Frankish and Dr Bruce Slonim,
  • Family planning officer Sister Eileen Makapa,
  • Chairperson of the NIPG Health Education Committee Gedjolly Aaron TB program managers from the Oilsearch Foundation.

Issues and requirements

Identified knowledge gap:

Learning needs survey identified  students wanted to know:

  • antenatal care and emergency obstetrics;
  • TB, HIV and sexually transmitted infections;
  • clinical diagnosis and assessment;
  • drug therapy; and
  • management of health facilities.

The province has the highest rate of malaria in PNG so special sessions addressed this.

Managing training: In-situ and long-term


For many participants, a standout learning experience was the chance to interview a tuberculosis (TB) patient and assess his treatment and recovery. This was followed by a practical session in the laboratory on how to prepare and analyse TB sputum test slides, led by Nedley Laban, a senior scientist at Kavieng General Hospital.

Group role plays on family planning and hands-on sessions on maternal health, in which participants used mannequins to practice emergency birthing techniques and neonatal resuscitation.

Authentic learning, using simulation such as these mother and baby models, is practiced all over the world with good retention rates,” says ADI volunteer Dr Merrilee Frankish who facilitated the maternal health sessions with Prof. Lock.

I learnt how to do RDTs (Rapid Diagnosis Tests) and to give the correct treatment for malaria,” says Rita, a community health worker (CHW) who travelled from her aid post at the southern-most tip of New Ireland to attend.


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