WHO ARE WE?
We are a team of three soon-to-be MDs and a Family Medicine resident and we are members of the Tropical Medicine Society (http://www.stpm.org/) of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
We are going to Papua New Guinea in November 2016, for three months, in order to provide medical help at the Dogura Health Center. The Dogura Health Center is located in the Milne Bay Province, in the South-east of the island. There is a team of specialized nurses, but most of the time there are no physicians. We are sure our work there can make a difference. This is the biggest project we have ever undertaken and we are thrilled about it.
Our expedition is supported by the Tropical Medicine Society and the Slovenian Ministry of Health.
DOGURA HEALTH CENTER
In Dogura Center, there is an out-patient clinic, a lab, a small departments of Internal Medicine, Gynecology, Pediatrics and for tuberculosis patients.There is only electricity four hours daily. There is lack of basic equipment: sutures, glucometers, gazes, swabs, antibiotics, painkillers…
What we plan to do there:
- We will invest part of the funds in providing therapeutics and drugs.
- We will provide primary care and treat acute and chronical diseases, communicable and noncommunicable;
- We will put a big effort in promoting prevention measures against communicable diseases;
- We will provide financial support for patients who have to be hospitalized in specialized hospitals;
- Our work there will not concern the departments only, since we will organize out-reach patrols as well, in order to provide vaccinations for the children in the surrounding villages;
- We will invest some of the funds in order to improve the infrastructure.
WHY PAPUA NEW GUINEA?
Our Tropical Medicine Society began organizing expeditions more than 25 years ago in Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and other African countries. In 25 years, Slovenian students and physicians became a constant presence in these countries, ensuring continuous presence on the territory, collaborating with the local medical staff, raising money for medical equipment and improving infrastructure. The collaboration in Dogura began only in 2014 and we really want to make it a long-lasting collaboration, in order to improve the health standards at the Center.
Some statistical data related to the country Health profile:
- Papua New Guinea has one doctor per 17,068 people and has 0.58 health workers per 1,000 people – WHO recommends 2.5 per 1,000 simply to maintain primary care. For a population of more than 7 million, Papua New Guinea has less than 400 doctors of which only 51 work outside Port Moresby, despite 85% of people living in rural areas
- 40% of people live on less than US$1.25 a day
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), PNG has the worst health status in the Pacific region. PNG ranks 157 out of 187 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index
- Maternal mortality: almost half of all women give birth without the assistance of a doctor or midwife.
- Infant mortality: 5.5% of babies will die before age 2
- Communicable diseases: Tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases cause 62% of deaths nationwide.
- Water-borne diseases: Only 33% of rural people have access to clean water, a major factor in the 2009 cholera outbreak that affected 14,000 people, whilst diarrhoea is the seventh bigger killer.
- Leading causes of mortality: perinatal conditions, pneumonia, malaria, TB, meningitis, heart diseases, diarrhoea, diseases of the digestive system
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention:www.cdc.gov, Countdown to 2015-Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival:http://www.countdown2015mnch.org/, Australian Doctors International:http://www.adi.org.au/health-in-png-2/png-health-s...
HOW DO WE GET READY FOR SUCH A BIG PROJECT?
This kind of expedition requires excellent clinical knowledge and skills and we are aware of this. We attend classes in Tropical Medicine and an elective organized by our professors, who are all members of the Tropical Medicine Society. Furthermore, we do extra hours in the hospital in various departments, in order to acquire as much experience and knowledge as possible. We constantly keep in touch with the health workers from the Dogura Center and with our fellows that took part in the first expedition in 2014.
In order to make this possible, we need your help! The cost of much needed drugs and transportation are substantial and everything has to be funded by ourselves. This is why we are beginning our campaign almost a year before leaving for Dogura. We are collecting donations in our Slovenia by hosting fundraising events, selling expedition T-shirts and actively searching for companies that would support us financially. We recently thought of online fundraising as an additional option, so here we are, launching our very first online campaign!
We hope you will help us to make it to Dogura and to have a positive impact on the local population health. Every euro, every dollar counts.