Nurturing community health workers

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is host to some of the most intense terrain in the world. So, when a community health worker in New Ireland Province is delivering basic health services to isolated and remote villages, they face multiple challenges in doing their jobs and supporting their community.

Newcrest Sustainability Fund is supporting Australian Doctors International (ADI) to partner with the New Ireland Provincial Health Authority to provide health workers with the essential training to strengthen their ability to confidently respond to whatever medical situation arises.

Project Purpose

Vulnerable and rural communities are often at higher risk due to their remote locations. Accessing these regions to work with the communities to educate and improve their overall health, can be problematic.

In cases where a life-threatening medical emergency arises, the first medical person on the scene is often that region’s Community Health Worker.

Scenarios like Post-Partum Haemorrhage is a dangerous birth emergency for the mother. Developing the skills of the local Community Health Workers, so they can best manage the situation until further support arrives, can be life changing.

Sustainable Health for Communities

The best sustainable health outcomes stem from working together with the community.

ADI’s programs work alongside those led by the PNG National Health System and within their National Health Plan 2021 – 2030. The programs aim to complement their structure to help secure a more robust, more sustainable health system nationwide.

Said programs supported by Newcrest Sustainability Fund vary, from delivering remote outreach clinical services, to training Community Health Workers in remote regions, all of which will improve the overall healthcare throughout PNG’s New Ireland province.

For example, for a woman experiencing a Post-Partum Haemorrhage, the Health Worker is given the techniques to stabilise the patient while they wait for a Nursing Officer to arrive.

Anne, a Community Health Worker from the Sub-Health centre in rural New Ireland, has received such training and said:

“I feel more confident and feel that I can manage as best as I can as I wait for the Nursing Officer to join us.”

ADI’s focus is not only on empowering the New Ireland community of health workers with skills and confidence. Their vision is also for long-term change through advocacy and education.

“ADI welcomes Newcrest’s commitment to the communities in their operational jurisdictions through the new Sustainability Fund. We look forward to working together to improve the health of rural communities in New Ireland and support the NIPHA to strengthen the local health system.” Mimi Zilliacus, CEO of ADI.


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