Village Health Volunteer Brendan Sokie, from Ok Isai village during a presentation at the company-sponsored training at Waimenmin 2 village.
Frieda River Limited is committed to enabling sustainable approaches to improve community health outcomes by strengthening community-based health systems. This approach aligns with the Papua New Guinea department of health’s vision to involve communities to support their own health services delivery.
In January 2023, 14 volunteers from impacted landowner villages attended a week-long Village Health Volunteer training sponsored by the Company.
Conducted by registered nurse and midwife Fredah Wantum, the training focused on tuberculosis treatment and prevention. Fredah has worked for many years in community health services and is a certified trainer in community health programs.
Papua New Guinea has one of the highest prevalence rates of tuberculosis in the world, with 30,000 new cases reported yearly, a leading cause of death.
According to Ms Wantum, training as these is critical and requires ongoing support from the Company and district health authorities.
“Volunteer training enhances health awareness and promotes healthy behaviours in communities. Grassroots-based health education is important for disease prevention and healthy lifestyles,” said Ms Wantum.
The volunteers shared topical community health challenges and concerns and learned how to use High Frequency (HF) radios to call the district health centre. Learning to use the equipment to describe critically ill patient conditions is important to enabling appropriate medivac assistance.
The health volunteers were first certified in 2019 to provide basic health care including malaria treatment and first aid.