New Western Highlands health centre opens to help 15,000 people after years of perseverance

Feb 28, 2017

Trolga Health Centre's Head nurse Ruth Kumin stands with community members in front of the new health centre which will provide services never offered before

Trolga, Western Highlands Province, February 28, 2017 the small western highlands community of Trolga has celebrated the opening of its new 16 room health centre after a 13-year struggle for better health facilities.

Providing a labour ward, in-patient, out-patient services, consultation rooms, family planning services and antenatal clinic the Trolga Health Centre will provide health services to service to approximately 15,000 people in the entire community as well as eight surrounding wards.   

The opening ceremony held in Trolga on February 27 celebrated the handing over of ownership of the health centre to the Western Highlands Provincial Health Department.

The centre was part of a Community-led Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Project funded by the European Union and put into effect by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM). The project was implemented in partnership with the people of Trolga, the Western Highlands Provincial Health Department and the Baptist Union of PNG.

UNDP’s Head of Programme’s Hisashi Izumi said: “This is an amazing story of perseverance. Trolga has been trying to improve its facilities since 2004 when it came together to build a traditional bush material aid post and despite several setbacks, it has overcome hardship and shown outstanding leadership to build a facility that will provide benefits to thousands of people who live in and around Trolga.”

“Community health leaders Bruce Kumin and Ruth Kumin should be congratulated for their leadership and foresight, it was their proposal to build the health centre that was accepted by the European Union in 2012.”

At the celebration event, community health leader Bruce Kumin and head nurse Ruth Kumin said: “The rural villages of Papua New Guinea are faced with high infant and neonatal mortality rates, high maternal mortality ratios and premature deaths from preventable sickness. The Trolga community wants to help the government achieve the 2030 targets to reduce mortality rates by extending health services to the people of Baiyer.”

Trolga nurse Priscilla Core said the new health centre will make a significant difference: “I have been a nurse in this community for over 9 years and I have been operating out of a bush hut. This health centre will really help serve the people. It is cleaner, more hygienic, no leaking roof, more functional, with running water and solar lighting, it will allow us to serve more people, even at night.”

 Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority’s Director of Public Health Benson Safi said: “The success of improving health depends on three crucial strategies: the motivation of health practitioners, the quality of facilities they have and the motivation of the community to improve their lifestyle. This partnership model of the community, development partners and the Provincial Health Department is the best way for all health services. Let us, and all decision makers, present here today set this as a goal for investing in further.”

The ceremony was attended by Mr. Mark Kaijua, CEO of Baiyer River District Development Authority, representatives of the Western Highlands Provincial Health Department, Mr. David Kongoar, the Provincial Police commander, Mr. Robert Yori from DNPM, Hisashi Izumi and Stephen Liston from UNDP, and community leaders and representations from across the surrounding wards.  



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