Enga Baptist Health Services, Papua New Guinea – Remote Community Outreach
Papua New Guinea (PNG), with its population of 8.4 million people (2018), is located in the South West Pacific. PNG is surrounded by sea with its two closest neighbours being Australia to the south and Solomon Islands to the east. It has a land border with Indonesia to the west.
It is ranked 153 on the UN’s Human Development Index out of 189 countries [United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 2020]. An estimated 27 per cent of the population are poor and/or face hardship (2015 Pacific Regional MDG Tracking Report). A significant majority of Papua New Guineans live in traditional rural communities with subsistence gardens and small-scale cash crops being the main source of food and income.
Enga Baptist Health Services (EBHS) was founded in 1997 upon agreement with the Enga Provincial Government in order to manage health services at Kompiam Health Centre, and the Lapalama and Yengisa Health Sub Centres. Its main objective has been to establish a functional base for administration, curative and preventative health services at Kompiam, and grow the reach of services throughout the district, which is one of the most remote areas of the country.
EBHS has always had a large focus on patrol (outreach) work because the lack of transportation makes it very difficult for villagers to reach the hospital.
- Education – medical and dental on various public health issues
- Well child checks – vaccinations, weights, development
- Well women checks – antenatal screening, maternal vaccinations, malaria prophylaxis, family planning advice
- Dental education and checks
- General medical clinics
- Occasional minor surgery
- Dental surgery
Because of the nature of the remotely spread population, lack of transport infrastructure and associated logistics, patrolling out to patients for the delivery of public health care is necessary. Patrol work is divided between flying clinics (in conjunction with Mission Aviation Fellowship), clinics by road and walking patrols. These clinics are used to provide vaccinations, health promotion work, dental work, general medical and obstetric antenatal care. MMA is providing financial support to ensure these vital services continue.