A participant back view while the background shows his tool kit.
A Photo By Kowara Bell

How training will help medical staff in remote parts of PNG to overcome isolation by sharing expertise.

A Story By MAF Technologies, Kowara Bell

Six medical doctors have learned a new set of skills as they battle to overcome isolation by setting up High Frequency (HF) radio connections for their clinics. Doctor Cinderella Gaso was part of the group taking part in the two-week course at the MAF Technologies training centre in Goroka to learn solar and HF radio installation and basic troubleshooting of technical issues.

She has spent the last nine years working between the remote Kairiku and Goilala districts in Central Province, and she said the real issue many rural hospitals and health centres face is the lack of communication systems and technical expertise.

"Coming here and becoming more hands-on has been beneficial for me because the training bridges many gaps that I've had to face in my nine years' of practice,” Dr Gaso said.

“I've travelled to many isolated health centres and noticed the main issues faced were lack of communication system, no proper power supply and other technical issues that can be addressed.”

She emphasized that training like this is important to them because there is a great need for technical assistance in remote district hospitals in order to keep the facilities operating.

"As for many rural hospitals, we do not have the luxury of having technicians, electricians, or even plumbers to care for the medical systems, which is something many rural hospitals lack. Such abilities gained from this training are important to us doctors since they will allow us to instruct other medical officers at our rural hospitals to address basic technical issues on our own," she added.

Male and female participant going through a session outdoor which they get to install a HF radio system.
A Photo By: Kowara Bell
Trainees setting up the HF Radio system during an outdoor session

Doctor Micah Misivet, another participant from Warangoi rural hospital in Pomio, East New Britain Province, was glad that the training involved more than just the basics of solar and HF radio systems. "I had no idea there was more to it; I've gained a lot merely understanding the physics of radio and solar systems. I now understand why using an HF radio and proper solar systems are more vital while being situated in remote areas,” Dr Misivet said.

Meanwhile, MAF Technologies Workshop Manager, Lukas Schadegg, stated that the training, with the rural medicine program of the PNG Society of Rural and Remote Health, was a success because the participants began with the fundamentals of electronics and then had to complete the course of building an HF Radio with solar installations on their own.

"With zero experience on HF radio and solar systems, yet they demonstrated an impressive result of successfully completing the installation course,” he said.

Lukas commended the trainees and their coordinator Doctor David Mills, for providing them the opportunity to acquire such significant training, which is recognised as a way forward in bringing health services to rural areas of PNG.

Training Participants posing for a picture after recieving their certification.
A Photo By: Kowara Bell
MAF Technologies trainers and trainees posing for a picture after successfully completing their Course.

Apart from the medical doctors, other attendees were technical officers from the Eastern Highlands Provincial Health Authority (EHPHA), officers from the New Tribes Mission (NTM), and MAF Technologies’ own radio tech trainees.

Click here to learn more about MAF Technologies' Radio Installations. Technical Training — MAF Technologies Papua New Guinea