Monday, November 28, 2016

Rural Health Services

For the 2nd straight year the Bana Rural Health Clinic has had the opportunity to have a Kudjip Nazarene Hospital doctor join them in their work.  Last year it was Dr. Susan Myers and a team that installed solar power, did pastor training and church statistics training.  This year, Dr. Bill and Marsha McCoy joined the staff at Bana for a week. 

Bana is a small village in the Sepik, far away from Kudjip and far away from the nearest hospital.   The clinic, with a staff of 3, serves a population of about 15,000, with the nearest hospital over 4 hours away on a very bumpy road.  Buckley and Charity and their son Philip, have been serving at Bana since they graduated from the College of Nursing, 3 years ago.  Rose, is a Community Health Worker, who also serves along side of them.  The three of them serve that community in many ways: seeing the patients who come, giving immunizations, going out on patrols, delivering babies, doing health education and more.  Day in and day out, they are the front lines, they are the ones investing and giving their lives to the people in Bana. 

For one week in October, Dr. Bill and Marsha McCoy got to join Buckley, Charity and Rose in their work.  The McCoys weren't alone, Gabriel and Emelyn Mahisu (Rural Health Services Director), and Bapo (Community Based Health Care Work), DS Yambe and many other supporters of the church came out for this event and for the services held throughout the week.  Bill saw patients each day, treating those that needed a doctor's care, teaching Buckley and Charity about different diagnosis and management, and reassuring the patients about the treatment they were receiving at the clinic by Buckley, Charity and Rose. 

The visit was an encouragement to many, the patients, the Bana staff, the village of Bana, to the church, to Rural Health Services, to the McCoys and more.  Encouraging our staff is one of the reasons why we started sending doctors out to serve with our staff in our rural clinics.  Other reasons are to provide teaching and training to the clinical staff that will last beyond the doctor's time there, to give patients a chance to see a doctor that they might never otherwise have the opportunity to see, to connect Kudjip and Rural Health Services more, and to give the doctors a chance to see more of PNG and what lies beyond our station gates.  

This was the 4th successful trip, of doctors going out to rural clinics.  The first was Dr. Susan in Bana in 2015, then Dr. Imelda went to Dusin in 2016, then Dr. Andy to Ulamagi clinic in 2016 and now Dr. Bill to Bana.  As we reflect on these trips and get feedback from the doctors, the staff and our Rural Health Services, we continue to look for more opportunities and ways to train our staff and encourage those who work beyond Kudjip Nazarene Hospital's gates. 

Kudjip Nazarene Hospital serves over 60,000 outpatients a year, but there are many more patients that are seeing, hearing and being shown the love of Christ beyond the gates of Kudjip.  Rural Health Services is the avenue in which that happens.  RHS has 6 clinics in remote areas of PNG that are staffed by dedicated Nursing Officers and Community Health Workers who often are the only medical personnel in their small communities.  These clinics handle the routine and emergent medical care that comes up from delivering babies to treating hypertension, coughs, colds, doing suturing and more.  These workers have moved away from their homes and families and are being missionaries in the remote parts of PNG and lives are being impacted for eternity as a result. 

In 2016, RHS, like all Christian Health Services, had their budgets cut by 40% from the government.  This cut has been devastating to RHS.  They don't have the patient volume to use patient fees to account for their deficit, so as a result services are what get cut.  For some clinics that means a staff is being cut, for others the number of medicines being sent in is being cut, for others, the clinic itself is facing closure.  We would like to not have to close any of the clinic doors, to pay our staff correctly, to be able to have adequate supplies of medicines at the clinic and to be able to medevac patients out to larger hospitals when needed, but without funds it is hard to do all that.  We don't know what the budget will look like for 2017, but we know these clinics won't survive if they don't get more funds for next year.  Would you consider helping?  Would you consider praying about how you might be able to partner with us in serving those who need care in the rural parts of PNG? 

If you are interested in helping these clinics continue to run, you can go here to give support.  If you want to find out more about RHS, don't hesitate to contact Gabriel Mahisu, the RHS director at  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dreams do come true - Laparoscopic Surgery at Kudjip

For the past 2 years, Ben has been dreaming and working on making laparoscopic surgery a reality at Kudjip.  Donations from Riverside Hospital in Ohio and Samaritan's Purse helped to make Ben's dream come true.  This past week, he was able to successfully do laparoscopic surgery on a little girl, who, no doubt, will be the first of many.    

Saturday, November 19, 2016

New Zealand

Glacial Lake in Mt. Cook area
One cute baby sheep
I recently had the chance to visit New Zealand with my friend Pam.  Pam is a radiographer who has been coming to Kudjip for a number of months each year.  Pam is from South Africa and we have talked about going to Africa on a safari, but this year we went to NZ instead.  NZ is a beautiful country with lots of sheep and mountains and rivers and beautiful country side.  We saw as much of it as we could in two week's time traveling on both the South and North Islands.  We went to Milford Sound, hiked part of the Routeburn Track, visited Mt. Cook, hiked in Abel Tasman National Park, went whitewater rafting, saw the Kaouri Forest and many birds and sheep in between.
Kaiteriteri, South Island
Kauri Forest
Mt. Cook and Lake Pukaki
Lake Pukaki
Seal in Kaikouri
Huntley, North Island
Hike to Mt. Cook
Yellow Eyed Penguins
Welcome Swallows
Milford Sound

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Counting the Cost

She is 2 yo almost 3 yo, but wasn't very tall and wasn't walking or talking like other almost 3 year olds.  Her mom brought her in, concerned that her daughter wasn't developing okay.  A blood test confirmed that her thyroid wasn't working, causing her to not grow, walk and talk like other kids her age.  If we didn't do anything she would remain much the same as she is now, even 10 years from now - she would stay very little, would be very short and wouldn't be able to understand much of what was being said to her.  Thankfully, there is a relatively easy fix, she just needs to take a medicine each day.

The challenge is getting the medicine to take each day.  To those who live outside of PNG, going and seeing a doctor every month or two would seem to be pretty easy.  You see your doctor every once in a while, they do a blood test, they call you with the result and then call in the prescription and you pick it up.  That isn't the case with Joice.  Joice lives hours away from Kudjip, getting here requires her mom to have money to make the trip to us, and to give up three days of working in her garden or working at the market to come and see us. 

As I explained all of this to Joice's mom, I saw her processing and seeming to really understand that if her daughter didn't get the medicine she would stay short and won't develop normally, but if she got the medicine she would likely be okay.  As we kept talking, I realized she was processing to the point of gauging what the cost was going to be in getting the medicines.  She asked what would happen if she gets medicine now, but doesn't get it in 5 years - would she regress?  She asked what if she doesn't get medicine now, but gets it in 2 years - would she still be okay?  Or what would happen if she took medicines now and then when she was 18 yo she stopped, what would happen then? 

I talk to many patients each day about their illness, most have a blank gaze on their faces leaving me to conclude that they don't really understand much, if any, of what I have attempted to communicate.  This mom was different, her questions were the right ones to ask.  She was counting the cost of finding a way to get her daughter the medicine she needs within the challenges and reality of living far away from Kudjip.  Pray for Joice and her mom to be able to continue to get the medicine she needs. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Patient Education

Part of caring for patients, is helping them understand their illnesses, how to take their medicines and what diet might be able to help them.  For the 200+ patients that we see each day, this can take a significant amount of time.

Instead of each nurse or doctor, taking time to education each patient they see, we have been working on have patient education times.  Currently, Esther has been spending time each Friday morning working with patients to explain Asthma, COPD, Diabetes, Back pain and GERD.  It has been a great service to our patients and our staff to have a specific time where they can learn about their disease.

We are attempting to reach even more of our patients in the future, by making videos of the patient education talks, so we can play them in our outpatient area as patients are waiting to be seen.  We are thankful for Esther and her time and hope we can continue to help patients not only by treating their diseases, but by helping them understand them too.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A reason to go to school

His dad told him to go to school, instead he went with friends and played behind his house in the bush.  When he fell and got a piece of wood stuck in his leg, he had to go to his dad telling him he was hurt.  His dad brought him into the hospital asking if we could help. 

Thankfully, the stick just lodged under the skin, but didn't do any real damage.  We were able to easily remove the stick after making a small hole in the skin, and we washed it out really well.  Hoping the kid remembers to go to school next time. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Harvest Party

We had our annual Harvest Party tonight and thanks to Gail had full participation.  Those of us who couldn't come up with something on their own got to be Things, which was a cute idea, that 27 of us could easily do, especially when she provided the blue hair and numbers.  The family and group costumes were quite creative and very cute.  I am not sure what all the PNGians thought of us, we all enjoyed ourselves.