Church provides free health care for fire-damaged villages

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Sister Mado ministering to a Hanuabada villager during daily checks.

Seventh-day Adventist Church members in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, have provided free health care and advice to more than 1500 people from two communities affected by fire earlier this year.

After months of preparation and much prayer, the Hohola Seventh-day Adventist Church carried out the intense two-week health ministry at the Hanuabada and Elevala villages.  This Total Member Involvement (TMI) campaign partnered with the health ministry from October 15 to 29 to support the two Motuan villages that contain homes destroyed by fire.

Hanuabada and other surrounding villages are not far from the central business district of Port Moresby and have an estimated population of almost 20,000 people. Due to their village setup, health and sanitation continues to be a major challenge in these communities as they respond to the growing challenges of modern urbanisation.

Hanuabada village in Port Moresby. The Motuan villages are built out over the water.

The health program, under the theme “Our Hands, His Touch”included a free medical clinic during the day and nightly health messages from Adventist doctors based out of the Port Moresby General Hospital. The medical clinic was set up in the Elevala United Church hall and was operated by a nursing team from Port Moresby General Hospital, led by health leader Serina Tamita, together with about eight volunteer nurses each day. The team conducted general health checks, screening and treatment of patients. Specialist eye, skin and surgical doctors, also from the Port Moresby General Hospital, made time to examine and provide medical advice and referrals to patients at the clinic.

More than 200 patients turned up each day and by the end of two weeks more than 1500 patients had received basic health care from the team of health professionals. Each day’s activities opened with a short devotional thought and prayer was shared from God’s Word with the patients and medical team.

People had tears in their eyes after being treated with so much love and care by the medical team. “When you receive healing praise God, for we are only here to share God’s love and it is His power that brings healing to your life,” Sister Serina told a patient who was overwhelmed by the health care received. The Hohola Adventist Church was thankful to the Elevala United Church executives for allowing the medical team to use their church hall for the two weeks.

The team of Adventist medical specialists, led by emergency specialist Dr Robin Oge, presented nightly health messages from a biblical and scientific perspective on current health issues affecting communities in Papua New Guinea, particularly Hanuabada, Elevala and surrounding villages. Lifestyles diseases, HIV, tuberculosis, cancers and kidney problems were among the top list of topics presented, with an emphasis on preventive measures and healthy living.

Since the Seventh-day Adventist Church first entered Central Province in 1908, attempts to enter the Motuan coastline, let alone the nearby villages, have had very little success. However, through the Hanuabada fire disaster a few months ago, a door has opened for Adventist Community Services (ACS) led by the Hohola church to build bridges and minister to the needs of the affected communities. With the “right arm of the gospel”, Hohola church has taken the approach to address the health issues affecting the villagers.

Members of Hohola church are praying that God will allow further opportunities for United Church leadership to allow the Adventist medical and health team to return after four months to do a follow-up health check on the patients.

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