News

Here is the latest news from Rural Health Services in Papua New Guinea.

Going Rural -a blog by Dr. Erin

Rural Health

gabbieMeet Gabriel Mahisu, for the past almost 10 years now, Gabriel has been the Rural and Primary Health Director of Nazarene Health Ministries.  I have worked closer with Gabriel the past year in the Admin office of Nazarene Health Ministries, as we have been a part of our Administrative Teams, but this past week I got to see what he does when he isn’t in the office.Sangapi HC sign

While I was seeing patients and working with the staff, Gabriel was a maintenance man, a community relations man, and an encourager of the staff.  He was fixing water pumps, lawn mowers, figuring out a way to connect gas to the stove, sharpening tools, and more.  He spent hours standing talking to the community about various issues that have come up over the past year, and working with them to come up with solutions to the problems.  He oversees our 6 health centers, but doesn’t live or gabbie talking to community9work at gabbie doing maintenancethem regularly, so when he has a chance to visit them, he maximizes his time, doing all that he can.

He tries to get to the Health Centers once a year, but it doesn’t always happen, most often due to budget constraints.  It is pretty expensive just to get to all the Health Centers, which are scattered throughout PNG, many in very remote areas, only accessed via MAF plane.  It is even more expensive to send in supplies to these facilities to keep them stocked or help to repair things when they are broken.  Despite the budgetary constraints, he makes it work.  We have 6 health centers which are up and running and seeing many many patients each day, serving those who otherwise would have no access to healthcare.  We also have 4 more health centers in the works, trying to get them registered and funded and established to continue to help patients be cared for, and the gospel of Christ to go out.

If you would like to learn more about RHS, and the work that they do, you can go here.

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Strengthening the missionaries in Sangapi – a blog by Dr. Erin

The plane’s engine could be heard in the distance, as it circled above making it’s way down to the airstrip to land, the staff rush out to the airstrip to meet those getting off the plane.  For weeks they knew a doctor was coming, they had told the surrounding me with HC staffvillages and communities when to come to see the doctor, and now she (me) was here.

Imagine being a nurse in a remote part of PNG which is either a 30 minute airplane flight or a 2 day walk to Mt. Hagen, the 3rd biggest city in PNG and the closest hospital with doctors.  Imagine seeing patients with severe pneumonia, bad lacerations involving tendons and bones,  fractured bones, moms with complications in delivery, abdominal masses and TB, and all without a doctor, a lab, a way to do an Xray or Ultrasound.  This is the everyday life for Naomi, Gibson and Nuvi, our 3 health workers, and Nathan and Captain, our 2 laborers, at Sangapi Health Center in Madang Province in PNG

Everyday, Naomi (a nursing officer), Gibson and Nuvi (community gibson giving out medicineshealth workers, husband and wife) wake up and serve the patients in this remote part of PNG the best they can with the skills, knowledge, training, and supplies they have.  For most all the patients who come, their training is sufficient to care for all their needs, but for some patients, they wish they could do more to help the people they are giving part of their lives to serve.

 

For one week, I got to work with Naomi, Gibson and Nuvi in Sangapi.  Together we cared for and treated over 200 patients, using those patient encounters as opportunities to train and help show them ways they can do what they are doing even better.   As much as we might like to recreate another Kudjip at one of our health centers, it is much more screening a ptcomplicated that just bringing a doctor out, you need the infrastructure, the lab, the operating room, the ancillary staff, the maintenance guys, etc.  But instead of building another Kudjip, we can strengthen the staff at the NHM Health Centers, to give the best care possible.

 

We gathered each day for devotions before the patients arrived and then we would have “school.”  We sat down and they asked me questions about patients that had seen, about conditions they were sure how to treat, and about medicines they had that they didn’t know what they were used for.  When their questions were done, we went through the PNG Standard Treatment Books (guide for healthcare workers in PNG) discussing each condition they commonly saw and what they should be looking for or how to best treat the condition.  They looked forward to “school”, and each day they came with more questions, furiously taking notes, trying to absorb all they could in my short time there.

school with HC staffWhen our hour or so of “school” finished, we then had a practical period where we saw patients and used that time to help them in their physical exam skills.  We listened to someone with pneumonia, seeing the child’s retractions, went over a knee exam having them feel the fluid collection and then drain it, we examined patients with back pain, discussing when to consider TB and more.  Each case was not just a patient, but an opportunity to strengthen their knowledge and skills.

As much as I enjoyed my week in the bush of PNG, seeing and experiencing something different from everyday life at Kudjip, the highlight of my time was working with the staff. Seeing their dedication to the community they serve, to the patients, seeing their desire to want to know more to better care for their patients, they inspired me.  They are the real missionaries here, they are the ones who have given up the potential for a nice career in city with good schools, easier access to stores and electricity, but they have chosen to serve the people and God at Sangapi.

waiting pts

Sangapi is, currently, one of six Health Centers (go here to learn more about Rural Health Services) that are a part of Nazarene Health Ministries, but we are in the process of having 4 more.  Please pray for our workers at each of these centers and for the chances they have to continue to learn and train to better care for the patients they serve so far away from everything else.  If you would like to help support Rural Health and the work they do, go here.

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Rural Doctor’s visit is a need to enhancing additional skills and knowledge to rural health staff.

For the 2nd straight year the Bana Rural Health Clinic has had the opportunity to have a Kudjip Nazarene Hospital doctor join them in their work.  Last year it was Dr. Susan Myers and a team that installed solar power, did pastor training and church statistics training.  20161002_135047

This year, Dr. Bill and Marsha McCoy joined the staff at Bana for a week. Bana is a small village in the Sepik, far away from Kudjip and far away from the nearest hospital.   The clinic, with a staff of 3, serves a population of about 15,000, with the nearest hospital over 4 hours away on a very bumpy road.  Buckley and Charity and their son Philip, have been serving at Bana since they graduated from the College of Nursing, 3 years ago.  Rose, is a Community Health Worker, who also serves along side of them.  The three of them serve that community in many ways: seeing the patients who come, giving immunizations, going out on patrols, delivering babies, doing health education and more.  Day in and day out, they are the front lines, they are the ones investing and giving their lives to the people in Bana.

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For one week in October, Dr. Bill and Marsha McCoy got to join Buckley, Charity and Rose in their work.  The McCoys weren’t alone, Gabriel and Emelyn Mahisu (Rural Health Services Director), and Bapo (Community Based Health Care Work), DS Yambe and many other supporters of the church came out for this event and for the services held throughout the week.  Bill saw patients each day, treating those that needed a doctor’s care, teaching Buckley and Charity about different diagnosis and management, and reassuring the patients about the treatment they were receiving at the clinic by Buckley, Charity and Rose.

The visit was an encouragement to many, the patients, the Bana staff, the village of Bana, to the church, to Rural Health Services, to the McCoys and more.  Encouraging our staff is one of the reasons why we started sending doctors out to serve with our staff in our rural clinics.  p1000465Other reasons are to provide teaching and training to the clinical staff that will last beyond the doctor’s time there, to give patients a chance to see a doctor that they might never otherwise have the opportunity to see, to connect Kudjip and Rural Health Services more, and to give the doctors a chance to see more of PNG and what lies beyond our station gates.

This was the 4th successful trip, of doctors going out to rural clinics.  The first was Dr. Susan in Bana in 2015, then Dr. Imelda went to Dusin in 2016, then Dr. Andy to Ulamagi clinic in 2016 and now Dr. Bill to Bana.  As we reflect on these trips and get feedback from the doctors, the staff and our Rural Health Services, we continue to look for more opportunities and ways to train our staff and encourage those who work beyond Kudjip Nazarene Hospital’s gates.

Kudjip Nazarene Hospital serves over 60,000 outpatients a year, but there are many more patients that are seeing, hearing and being shown the love of Christ beyond the gates of Kudjip.  Rural Health Services is the avenue in which that happens.  RHS has 6 clinics in remote areas of PNG that are staffed by dedicated Nursing Officers and Community Health Workers who often are the only medical personnel in their small communities.  p1000528These clinics handle the routine and emergent medical care that comes up from delivering babies to treating hypertension, coughs, colds, doing suturing and more.  These workers have moved away from their homes and families and are being missionaries in the remote parts of PNG and lives are being impacted for eternity as a result.

Please pray for our Rural Health facilities and our staff caring for the patients at those very remote places.   The government decreased funding in 2016 by 40% to all Christian Health Services.  This cut has been devastating to RHS. Unlike hospitals, like Kudjip, where patient fees can be increased to help make up the government deficiencies, the rural clinics can’t do that.  Transporting medicines into the facility, transporting patients out who need medevaced, transporting the staff in and out for training or vacation are all very costly, and in years of funding deficits, even harder to do.

Tough decisions are in the process of being made regarding the staff and the clinics as we determine if we have to lay off staff until we get more money or even if we have to close a facility.  None of these are good solutions, but are what we are facing in our financial crisis.  Would you pray for us and even consider helping to support us during this difficult financial crisis? We don’t know what the budget will look like for 2017, but we know these clinics won’t survive if they don’t get more funds for next year.  Would you consider helping?  Would you consider praying about how you might be able to partner with us in serving those who need care in the rural parts of PNG?   If you are interested in helping these clinics continue to run, you can go here to give support. To find out more about RHS, don’t hesitate to contact Gabriel Mahisu, the RHS director at gmahisu@yahoo.com.

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UPDATE: Second Solar Project and CBHC Training

20150923_084333Thank you all who have given to make this dream come true. The second part of the project has gone really well. We appreciate all your prayers and support towards making the second solar project installation a success.

On the 19th of September we were able to bring the team of 5 missionaries including Tim and Karla Deuel, Jeff and Dr. Susan Myers and their son Ethan.  They came with 3 national leaders: Gabriel, Director of Rural Health, and Mathew and Bapo of Community Based Health Care.  The team visited Bana Nazarene Clinic located in the mountain range of Drekikier in the East Sepik province. The trip was  for the solar installation to allow starting an immunization program, for Dr. Susan to help with clinical screening and treatment, and for Community Based Health Care training and discipleship class for pastors and laypeople.20150920_132516

Involving doctors in rural setting is a rare opportunity for the Rural Health Division of Nazarene Health Ministries. The team’s travel from Kudjip hospital included the 45 minutes drive to Mt. Hagen airport, 50 minutes flight to Wewak, and then a 5 hour drive on the very rough road to Bana Nazarene Health Centre. The team was warmly welcomed by the community with their traditional dancing, that clearly showed the excitement of the community over the changes and development into the area.  20150921_152521

During the week each individual member of the team took on different task at the facility site. Dr Susan was very busy all day with patients coming in from three government districts, who all flooded into the facility to see the doctor because there is no regular doctor available in that area. Before Nazarene Health Ministries took on this facility and upgraded it to a Health Centre, the community used to carry patients on bush stretchers and walk many hours to seek medical help outside of their district.  Now we have 3 nurses stationed at Bana: Buckley, Charity,  and Rose and it has become a very busy medical service providing for the needs of the community.  It is the nearest medical care for about 15,000 people in the area.  For this special week another government nurse, Micah joined in to help our three nurses with screening and treatment as even more people flooded in for a chance to see a doctor. There were 853 patients screened, examined and treated during the week.

DSCF0721Tim Duel and Ethan Myers worked really hard getting the solar system installed and finally we’re able to use the power and lights in the night service. The solar system installed is a tremendous help to power the vaccine fridge for all of the children in the area who have not been immunized over the years. These children will directly benefit from the vaccines refrigerated from the solar power.

20150923_084735Jeff Myers and Karla Deuel did a tremendous job in teaching all our pastors including lay people during the day and conducted fellowship and Jesus film at night. Reports from participants were really encouraging by these practical teachings.

Mathew and Bapo spent the week on CBHC awareness and training. It was a first contact made with all 8 ward councilors including their ward committees and many other community leaders who came to the training. Mathew and Bapo began introductory training and will do more complete training in November.  All of the councilors pledged their support of the program and are eager to help bring real change in their communities.

God is in control, we had sensed His love and compassion in this trip. For me (Gabriel), as RHS Director, accompanying the team was very special and inspiring, but was also very eye-opening for the challenges that lay ahead. There are challenges of infrastructure developments, equipment, and more staff needed to care for the sick and needy in the area. We praise the Lord that the trip was fruitful, God has opened doors for the lost to see and receive Christ, and we continue to pray for the transformation in the lives of 15,000 people in that area!

Thinking through all these there came a song that reminded me of that special event; “ There’s a river of life flowing out of me, makes the lame to walk and the blind to see, open prison doors, sets the captives free.  There’s a river of live flowing out from me.”  It also made me think of the heart of the Rural Health Services – having compassion and reaching out to rural areas to impact all aspects of human life. Matt 11:5 “The blind received sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”

If you wish to support the work of Rural Health in continuing and extending this work please give your donation to “Rural Health Greatest need“.  We appreciate the prayers and support of so many who make this work possible.

 

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UPDATE: Solar Project and CBHC Training

Thank you for all who have given to this project so far.  If you haven’t gotten involved we do still need your help and you can see this project here.

The first part of this project has gone well.  We appreciate people who have been praying for us.  The Dusin area from planefirst part of the project was to have our visiting missionary friend, Bill Wright (who is an Electrical Engineer who has helped Kudjip many times before) come and install the first solar system in Dusin.  He took along with him, Nazarene Missionary Tim Deuel, who himself is an electrical linesman. Tim has done a lot of work on the mission house at Dusin and will be able to help make future adjustments or repairs to the system at the new clinic.

It was difficult to get flights to Dusin.  MAF (Mission IMG_3965 rAviation Fellowship) is very busy trying to help missions like ours reach remote areas.  It is even more complicated because of the small airstrip at Dusin, which is easily covered by clouds in the mountains, and the heavy load of the solar panel, batteries, and inverters.  We praise the Lord for working out the charters at the last minute and for good weather to get the entire team in and out safely.

 

Traditional hut and kids DusinThe solar panels are now installed.  This will run lights and a vaccine refrigerator with room to grow.  This will provide immunizations for the first time reliably in this area and tells people that the church cares about them.  It will also extend some other clinical services to this remote area.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIssach, a nursing officer with CBHC was also able to go and hold a three day training with pastors and others in the area who have already begun CBHC training.  These people would have come from several hours walk in the mountains to be able to come and learn this knowledge (for more on how this works CBHC post: 6 accept Christ).

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Rural Health Work leads to Church planting

devotionsIt was a real blessing of having the Easter week fellowship in Wafibambun village, Makham district of Morobe province. The fellowship started through the work of Nazarene Health Ministries Rural Health Services of PNG in an area we don’t even have a health facility! (See our last post). The gathering turned out to a week revival that almost the entire village came to worship together at the Easter fellowship.  The Nazarene College of Nursing was invited to take part at the event and they joined the fellowship on Friday evening and lead in the outreach at the Markham district centre the next morning. There were 19 new converted.
FamiliesOn Sunday at the morning service the hosting family entirely came to dedicate themselves to the Lord. They also gave the land for dedication and our pastors prayed over the land to build the church.  The village leader presented us a young coconut plant to mark a sign of new church coconutto be planted. We received the coconut, prayed over it and planted it on the land that has now been dedicated to build the church. The church was given its name as “ Valley  Church of the Nazarene.”  They also shared their vision to reach out to whole of Markham valley. We praised God because it all started with the work of Rural Health Services through Imane Health Sub Centre.

Pray points to share;
• Pray for the 19 new converted in the area
• Pray for Peter Bill & wife Carol, both are conducting night fellowship every Tuesdays.
• There is no pastor.  Please pray with us as we continue to find a pastor for that church.
• Pray for my family [Gabriel & family] as we will continue to assist them in many ways to make the dream into fruition. We are now in the process of helping it become an organized church.

 

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Rural Health is about discipleship

Peter Bill and GabrielSometimes discipleship may take unexpected forms.  You may think of Rural Health Services as making disciples at our Rural Health Centres through patient care as well as community and church involvement.  That is, of course, the primary area of ministry, but it often surprises us how God expands this.  One such example is the story of Peter Bill.  He was connected to a politician who was supposed to come to imane hc extension openingthe opening of an extension to the remote Imane Health Center in 2010.  The politician could not come and sent Peter instead.  He flew in with our Rural Health Director, Gabriel Mahisu and a team from NHM.

Peter was impressed during his time at the opening by the work of the church in the community, the baptism of new believers held at that time, and the preaching of imane hc community baptismholiness that accompanied this event.  He and Gabriel stayed in touch and became friends. Even though Imane is not in his immediate area, Peter even begin to help Gabriel with logistics in this region.  He even asked Gabriel for a Manual for the Church of the Nazarene as he was interested in our Articles of Faith and the structure and accountability of our church.   Eventually he talked to Gabriel about him and his family joining   the church.  Since there wasn’t a Church of the Nazarene in his area, he and his family decided to start one and asked for Gabriel’s help.  See our next post as a follow up to this story!

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It’s all through Prayer

A brand New Year 2015 came with a brand new Land cruiser for Rural Health Service (RHS) division of Nazarene Health Ministries to assist the work of Rural Health Services in PNG. The vehicle is one of the greatest needs that God has answered through prayers of the Christians who continually praying for the work of RHS in PNG. The vehicle will be used for administering RHS program and activities with mostly delivering medicines, medical supplies, equipments, transporting staffs and patients in and out of the rural facilities and setting up of new health facilities through partnership arrangements. On behalf of RHS I would like to thank those who have contributed enormously in New RHS Vehicleprayer, seeking funding and giving of this vital tool for Nazarene Health Ministries to extend the gospel of Jesus Christ into the underserved and unreached rural areas. May His Name be glorified.

 

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New calling faces Challenges in rural

On the 5th of March 2014 was a memorable day for the people of Wam and Bana in the East Sepik province of PNG. After many years of praying for health care has come true to the lives of 15,000 population consisting of 8 ward councillors. Nazarene Health Ministries moved in with a newly graduate nurse-pastor to serve in the new established health sub centre. Buckley Mann sensed the call to serve the people of Bana who have been neglected from health services for the past 20 years. Buckley treated 60 to 100 patients everyday. The demand for health care in the area is very high that medicine supplies ran out within the first two days. The clinic is in desperate need of infrastructure. No permanent buildings were built however the people took initiative to build a bush material house for the staff and a clinic to operate. People felt relieve of carrying sick patients on bush stretcher by foot or walking long distance. Many mothers died on the way before reaching the nearest health facility which 6 to 7 hours walk.

Buckley is newly married to wife Charity. It was very sad scenario of separating the two newly married couples that the wife had to work at Nazarene hospital while husband sensed the call to serve at Bana in another province. The both couples could have been together but because of the funding and unavailability of positions for both, one has to sacrifice to serve the very needy outside.  We are continually praying for open doors for Buckley and Charity to be together. Buckley need Charity to help him in the area that he is serving right now. Not that but as newly married couples they both need to be together to strengthen and comfort each other physically and spiritually because Buckley has given another responsibility to minister as a pastor to a church and congBuckley shaed his testimonyregation.

The greatest rural health need for the Bana is infrastructure. We need funding for staff houses and clinic building that will cater for birthing centre, admission, outpatient, immunizations.

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The difficulty of getting supplies into remote areas

The Airline company refused to carry refrigerant for refilling the refrigerator for the vaccines in Sangapi Health Centre. I asked for a 4WD Land cruiser cannot go any further.charter and the Dangerous Goods (DG) declaration in order to send it through. However, the answer was “No you cannot, because your cylinder is not UN approved” so the airline company declined to board the cylinder. I had another thought of sending the entire refrigerator out so that it can be refilled, but then realizing that the vaccines kept there would then be destroyed. A charter is needed for taking it but that is so expensive and would require the same regulations. It would also take a while to get it in because of the irregularity of the flights. The outcome would be the children who are due to receive their immunizations would be delayed for months and our target numbers would not be met.

Finally a thought came to my mind to find somebody who can carry the cylinder and take a walk using bush track into Sangapi. A three day walk, with a 13.6kg bottle is too difficult for one man. Thank God that He sent two gentlemen to me, after a week of thinking about the possibility of hiking the refrigerant in. I asked the two gentle men and they agreed to find another two to add to their number so that they can assist each other with the cylinder.

A day was set on the 7th of October, 2011 to drop the four guys at where the road stops. We drove 110 kilometers right into the jungle where the road was newly built, up the hill passed the PNG Defense
Force PNG Engineering camp and down towards Ruti valley. Finally, we could not go any further because of the terrains, cliffs, and deep holes that the 4wheel cruiser could not pass through. So we managed to drop the four men off and they began their journey. Even though we drove to shorten the distance, it still took the four men 3 days and 2 nights walk on a bush track to reach Sangapi Health Centre.

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