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Texas Children's Hospital

Three international doctors are making a difference in PNG as a result of a Public Private Partnership between ExxonMobil PNG (EMPNG), Texas Children’s Hospital, the Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Papua New Guinea School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The partnership, formed in 2013 with a K8 million (US$3.1 million) grant from ExxonMobil, was established to improve paediatric, maternal and public health capacity.

A Paediatrician, Dr Welch, and a Public Health Doctor, Dr Machine, have been seconded to the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) from the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. In 2015 an Australian Obstetrician, Dr Namiko Kobayashi, and in 2016 Dr. Hilda Tanimia, a Papua New Guinean Obstetrician also joined UPNG. 

All of them are working to improve the quality and availability of training for medical professionals, medical research techniques, treatment of maternal, child and public health, and patient care.

In addition to providing expert medical treatment to patients, training staff and students in hospitals and teaching at the UPNG, the doctors are also involved in recruiting additional healthcare workers and advising the government on maternal and paediatric health programs.

The health care partnership has been enormously successful, benefiting at least 400 obstetric and paediatric patients every year and improving the skills of hundreds of medical and allied health professionals and trainees. 

On a practical level, the program has seen a significant growth in the number of obstetric patients reaching full-term in their pregnancies and hundreds of children diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition.

The program’s 2015 annual report highlights the following achievements:

  • Reducing student to teacher ratios and improving overall patient care by adding additional staff to both the university clinical teams and the pediatric and obstetric on-call support teams
  • Delivering on-site clinical training to nurses, residents and registrars at Port Moresby General Hospital
  • Providing research training and ongoing research support and mentorship for students and staff
  • Assisting with the revision of curriculum in Pediatrics and Public Health
  • Visiting rural and remote areas and providing clinical consultation and mentorship support
  • Updating guidelines for treating and caring for patients with tuberculosis or malnutrition as well as liaising with stakeholders to improve training on both illnesses across the country
  • Delivering over 85 hours of lectures and more 390 hours in mentoring to students and healthcare professionals

Also included in the program is a scholarship that allows for a Papua New Guinean healthcare worker to pursue further studies in the United States. Port Moresby General Hospital Medical Social Worker Margaret Maipa Yagas was the first recipient of the Baylor College of Medicine International Paediatric Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Initiative scholarship funded by EMPNG.