Medical Ministries in PNG

Medical work in Papua New Guinea began when the first nurse arrived in 1965. Since then, the ministry has grown, and now Papua New Guinean nurses staff seven medical centers throughout the Southern Highlands. There are no doctors on staff, but the nurses are trained to diagnose and treat common illnesses, deliver babies, and teach preventive measures to those in the community. These nurses provide health services from the seven centers to approximately 75,000 people in a mountainous area that is about 30 miles long and 20 miles wide.

The medical work in PNG transitioned from the Mission to the national church in 1987, but WGM continues to partner with the outreach. Missionaries train local women in Bible storytelling. These women then go with the nurses on mobile clinics and share Bible stories with the clients as they wait to be seen.

The local churches are also involved in providing spiritual care to the patients at the health facilities. Missionaries assist where needed with some of the logistics of the health work, including keeping immunizations cold, helping the in-charge nurse with computerized record keeping, and providing overall encouragement where needed.

There is a continued need to provide in-service training for the nurses and to empower them to become more involved in a holistic approach to health as they work with the communities they serve. Missionaries provide in-service training on counseling techniques to assist the staff as they care for the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of each patient.

Beginning in 2013, student nurses from the States will travel to PNG to assist with the medical work at the health centers. These students will work alongside national nurses in providing care to both inpatients and outpatients, delivering babies, and assisting with emergencies. They will also visit the communities to see how Papua New Guineans live and to provide health education that is appropriate to the people’s needs.

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