Monday, March 23, 2020

And so it begins . . .

While the rest of the world has been locked down for the past few weeks, Papua New Guinea, has mostly been carrying on as normal, as it seemed we had escaped the Coronavirus Pandemic.

That all changed this past Friday, when our first imported case was confirmed.  Thankfully, for the past few weeks, we have been planning and preparing for what to do - when/if Coronavirus came into PNG.  The Prime Minister of PNG announced last night, that he is shutting down the country starting tomorrow - no international or domestic flights, no province crossing, no public motor vehicles, no markets, no school - at least for 14 days.  We hope and pray that these efforts will contain the spread of COVID-19.  But if they don't - we are ready.

As we talked about how to approach it - we wanted to figure out a way to try and still provide care to all the folks in our Province who need our regular Hospital services - while also screening for COVID patients.  We decided, we needed to separate out the two.  So today our Maintenance guys put up a tent today in nearby field.  Just a short walk off of station.  Allowing the Hospital to see the high blood pressure and DM and aches and pains, and the tent to see anyone with Cough and Fever and other Respiratory Symptoms.

The tent is complete with open air, social distancing, hand washing stations, power, a nearby incinerator and pit toilet, oxygen, a treatment room, nurse screening area, and a doctor exam area.  The Maintenance guys transformed a field into a little mini clinic very quickly.

If we never have another COVID-19 patient in the country, I will be okay with that.  But if we do, we will be ready.  Ready to do the best we can in our environment.  We don't have much to offer medically - we have some IV fluid and oxygen, but we have the love and hope of Jesus that we can share.

Thankfully, Nazarene Hospital Foundation, Project Save and others who send supplies to us, have enabled us to have some PPE.  PPE isn't something that our hospital would normally have, it isn't something we typically get from the government here.  We are thankful for what we have and plan to use it as best we can to get the most out of it.  We are working on some alternative face masks/covers for our patients and watchman and for our Surgery lain - as we will run out of disposable facemasks soon.

As we pray for all of you around the world who are in lockdown and battling Covid on your Homefront - remember to pray for us too.  I am sure there is fear everywhere, but seems especially prevalent in our communities here.  I've been reading a book about Psalm 23 recently, which has given me great comfort in the past few days.  Praying all of us can find the peace and comfort we need.

Psalm 23 - "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Friday, March 13, 2020

New Zealand Vacation

I had the chance to go to New Zealand, to the Coromandel Peninsula, in the NE part of the North Island a week ago.  It is the end of their summer there, so the weather was very nice, and the water, warmer than I expected.  It was great to get away for a short time.

I didn't find Frodo or Sam, but did find Rebekah (who worked at Kudjip this past year) and Vince (her boyfriend), as well as a beautiful place that the Lord has created.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Partial Project Opening

The Hospital Expansion Project is getting closer to finishing.  The Operating Room, Administrative Building, Lab and Pharmacy are our main projects currently.  All of which are getting closer each day to completion.  The expansion of the Outpatient Department, ER, Labor Ward, a new Storeroom and Haus Krai have all been finished already, the rest will be done by the end of this year, if not sooner.  We had the privilege of having the Australian High Commissioner come and visit us, to open up part of our Project.  Mr. Bruce Davis, has been the AHC for a number of years, and was getting ready to retire and wanted to come back to the Highlands one last time and made a trip to see us.  We are very thankful to Australia and their support of the work God is doing at Nazarene Hospital, and the way they have invested in us.  They have given us money for the New Hospital - back in 2007, for the Hydroelectric Waterholderbacker in 2010, and now for this new Hospital Expansion.  We literally, would not be where we are today, if it wasn't for Australian support of us through Incentive Fund.  Thank you Australia.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Watchmen and Watchmeris

Each patient at the hospital has a watchman or watchmeri who looks after them.  They help to bring them food, help them get outside to the bathroom, or to the sun, wash their clothes, etc.  Most of the time, these are adults who look after the patients, but But there are many times, when the person watching the patient at the time is an older sibling.  PNG kids tend to take on baby-sitting duties for their siblings at a much younger age than older siblings do in the US.  Some are like 5 yo who are watching their 2yo sibling.  These were both older - probably like 10 yos, looking after their younger siblings and doing a good job at that.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

What is the diagnosis?

A patient came in the other day, and by looking at the patient vs their watchman, I knew the patient was going to be admitted.  I asked them to put their hands up and took this picture, trying to contrast the difference of having blood in your body and not having blood in your body.  The yellowish/whitish hand was the patient, who was being admitted for severe anemia with a hemoglobin of 3.  The watch person, who I didn't check, but most likely had a normal hemoglobin >12.  Thankfully, this patient had some family members who were willing to give him blood, and we were able to admit him and transfuse him 3 units of blood, before letting him go home.  Our blood bank relies on the family and friends of the patients who need blood to keep it stocked.  Thankfully, most patients have family and friends who are willing to give blood, when/if they don't, we are often able to find a nursing student or missionary to give blood.  Thankful for those who give.  

Monday, January 20, 2020


I shouldn't be surprised anymore, as a wheelbarrow is a pretty common mode of transportation here, but I can't help, but ask to take a picture when I see it.  Majority of people in PNG do not have cars.  They get from point A to point B by walking, or taking a PMV - a Public Motor Vehicle.  For places that are close by (within 5 miles) they will likely just walk, outside of that, most likely they will pay for a PMV.  But sometimes, they find other modes of transportation too - and a wheelbarrow is always a good form, especially with the PNG roads.  

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Gifts we Bring

The song The Little Drummer Boy – has the lyrics:
Come they told me, A new born king to see, Our finest gifts we bring, To lay before the king, So to honor him, When we come, Little baby, I am a poor boy too, I have no gifts to bring, That’s fit to give our king, Shall I play for you, Mary nodded, The ox and lamb kept time, I played my drum for him, I played my best for him, Come they told me, A new born king to see, Me and my drum (Insert “Pa rum pum pum pum” at every comma)
The little drummer boy, was just a boy, and felt like he had nothing to give to the baby Jesus, and yet he could play his drum, and he did it the best he could for the baby Jesus. Each of us, especially individually, may think that we have little or nothing to bring to Jesus, or to the Ministry of the Hospital (or whatever you do), but God has given each of us gifts in certain areas, and the best gift we can give is to use our gifts, to the best of our ability, in service and as a gift to the Lord – Just like the Little Drummer Boy.
As a Hospital, we are made up of many individuals, who work in different departments, and yet together we have been able to Minister as a Hospital to the people of Jiwaka and beyond, who come for care. The gifts we bring:
  • Security – The gift of safety
  • Project Team – The gift of our buildings
  • Maintenance – The gift of keeping us running, power and water
  • Hygenists – The gift of cleanliness and service
  • Primary Health Services – The gift of ministry to the poor and outcasts
  • Health Professionals (Nurses, CHWs, Doctors, Dental Staff, ASOs) – The gift of physical healing and helping
  • Lab/Xray - The gift of diagnostic assistance
  • Chaplains – The gift of spiritual ministry and health
  • Clerks (OPD, Admin, Medical Records) – The gift of organization, record keeping and assisting
  • Canteen and Food Service – The gift of nutrition
  • Finance/Business Office – The gift of financial accountability
  • Administration – The gift of leadership, organizational direction
  • MSP Field – The gift of vision, accountability and leadership
Our prayer this Christmas, is that we will keeping using our gifts to serve those who need them at Nazarene General Hospital, and we would pray for you to use your gifts for whatever God has called you to today. Merry Christmas.