Margaret Maipa Yagas is set to embark on a journey to develop her knowledge and skills in health care as she commences a Masters in Public Health (MPH) at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, Texas, USA.
As the first Papua New Guinean recipient of the ExxonMobil funded Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) Scholarship, Margaret will receive a full scholarship beginning with a pre-course, a certificate in Public Health program and make her way into the MPH program.
Her term as a Medical Social Worker at the Port Moresby General Hospital has allowed Margaret to experience some of the challenges faced by Papua New Guineans.
"The efficiency and availability of health and social work services is an area that needs attention.
"Thanks to ExxonMobil and their partners, this scholarship will offer me the opportunity to further my education and develop strategies to improve those challenges," said Margaret.
The scholarship is an initiative from a public private partnership between ExxonMobil PNG, BIPAI, National Department of Health and the University of Papua New Guinea's School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
ExxonMobil PNG committed 8 million Kina over two years to fund the partnership designed to help improve the skills and education of local health workers.
ExxonMobil PNG Limited Deputy Production Manager, Dale Pittman, said education and health are two areas that ExxonMobil PNG is committed to supporting.
"Investing in the education of Papua New Guinean medical students and public health workers will help address the preventable health concerns faced in Papua New Guinea.
"We are proud of the partnership which has seen organisations come together to achieve a common goal - improving health care in Papua New Guinea," said Mr Pittman.
As part of the partnership, experienced doctors from the United States have been placed in the Port Moresby General hospital to provide mentoring and training to medical students.
To date, ExxonMobil PNG funding has facilitated visits from specialist doctors and healthcare workers to teach and provide medical services in Papua New Guinea.
Almost 100 lectures have been delivered to more than 900 students at the University of Papua New Guinea and over 450 patients suffering from severe acute malnutrition were successfully treated and discharged from Port Moresby General Hospital.
The PNG LNG Project is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore pipelines and liquefaction facilities. Participating interests are affiliates of Exxon Mobil Corporation (including ExxonMobil PNG Limited as operator), Oil Search Limited, National Petroleum Company Papua New Guinea, Santos Limited, JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration, Mineral Resources Development Company and Petromin PNG Holdings Limited.