Students provide vital medical care to remote villages

Fourth year student Angolberth Tawampe checking a sick child's temperature.

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Seventh-day Adventist medical students from Divine Word University provided free basic medical care to people living in a remote region of Western Province, Papua New Guinea, from December 4-11.

With the theme “Reaching the unreached”, the outreach involved medical students from both Divine Word and the University of Papua New Guinea who were assigned to nine different locations accompanied by a pastor. One of these sites was Dome village, about 50 kilometres from Kiunga town in North Fly District. Dome is divided into two villages, with 75 per cent of the population of both villages being West Papuans and 30 per cent native Papua New Guineans. People living in these villages cannot typically afford to get medical treatment from the main hospital.

Divine Word University Adventist medical students with captain Philip at Kagamuga Airport, Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province, preparing for their departure to Kiunga.

The goal of the students was to show God’s love through medical ministry. They carried out basic health checks and provided treatments for various diseases and ailments. One of the challenges they faced was that most of the people speak Ternate, the language of northern Maluku, eastern Indonesia, and this made communication difficult for both medical students and patients. The students sought help from the locals to translate Ternate to Tok Pisin or English so that they could diagnose the patients’ diseases.

The students found the people living in Dome village were in dire need of access to medical supplies for basic health care. They were fortunate to get some medical supplies from Madang General Hospital.

The students treated more than 200 patients and assisted at four mobile clinics. They referred 22 patients to the Kiunga District Hospital. They also ran awareness talks about breast cancer, cervical cancer, pediatric immunisation, nutrition and the dangers of smoking.

The medical outreach was held prior to the 19th biannual convention of the Papua New Guinea Adventist Tertiary Students Association, which was held in Kiunga.

First year student Japheth Kerowa dressing a sore on the leg of a patient.

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