Written by Joy Suarkia & edited by Sean Atkins. Photos by Simeon Tom.
A new lifesaving tool at an isolated Papua New Guinea (PNG) health post had an immediate impact when it was used to arrange a medevac for a pregnant mother.
MAF Technologies, with support from MAF International, installed a high frequency radio for community health workers in Musave which, due to its location, has poor mobile coverage.
Over the years, patients with severe injuries or illnesses have died when there has been no communication to arrange medical care. The most common loss of life has been related to maternity deaths.
So, it was an exciting breakthrough when, immediately after installing the radio, MAF Technologies received a call from Musave requesting medical transportation for a pregnant mother who had complications in labour. The MAF Technologies radio operator immediately arranged transport to airlift the mother from Musave to a nearby health centre where she could receive proper assistance to deliver her baby.
This was the first of many HF radio requests for medical support. The following day MAF Technologies received another call from Musave health post requesting a medevec for another pregnant mother.
The District Health Officer, Mr. Hanema Lutton wrote a letter of appreciation to thank MAF for funding the HF radio and doing a successful installation. Dear Mr. Mathew,
...On behalf of my community and colleague at Musave, we would like to kindly pass our heart felt gratitude towards your support and understanding as this facility had no communication network… Thank you very much Mr. Bryan Mathew and also the friendly technicians from MAF who installed our radio to expose us to the world where we can receive proper health care.
MAF Technologies technician Simeon Tom, who did the HF radio installation said it was rewarding to be able to help. “I was so happy and felt a sense of accomplishment when I heard that they used the radio to request a medevac for the pregnant mother because I was told that maternity deaths were common in Musave and either a mother would loss her life or loss her baby during delivery,” he said. Simeon added that he is proud that he can be part of what MAF Technologies does and to use his skills to contribute towards seeing lives changed and saved.