ExxonMobil PNG Limited (EMPNG), operator of the PNG LNG Project, has been recognised by two global industry associations for innovative community health initiatives.
IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, has showcased EMPNG's Community Health Impact Management Program in its recently released Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Guide as an example of industry best practice.
EMPNG's Community Health Impact Management Program was developed in partnership with the PNG Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) to improve the country's data collection and health diagnostics.
The partnership included working with the University of Papua New Guinea's School of Medicine and Health Services to fund, build and outfit the National Infectious Disease Diagnostic and Research Laboratory and train its staff to World Health organization gold standards.
The state of the art facility is managed by PNGIMR and is used to advance important biomedical research in tropical medicine as well as research for infectious diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis (TB).
The HIA case study on the PNG LNG Project highlights how industry can enhance diagnostic and health data collection capacity of government institutions to both support workforce and community health.
ExxonMobil PNG Limited Managing Director Andrew Barry stated that a key component of the health program was the integrated Health Demographic Surveillance System (iHDSS) which monitors the impact of the PNG LNG Project on the health of communities within Project areas.
The laboratory built in partnership with PNGIMR and UPNG supports iHDSS by providing accurate diagnosis of surveillance samples.
"The importance of establishing effective partnerships with government, universities and non-government organisations to support sustainable health sector improvements was realised early on and continues to be a priority for EMPNG going forward. We are honoured to be featured in IPIECA's Health Impact Assessment Guide as an example of best practice and to illustrate what can be accomplished when industry and government work together," said Mr Barry.
PNG IMR's technical team, led by Dr. Bang Nguyen Pham, continues to build upon the successes of its PNG LNG partnership and is eager to scale up the iHDSS model PNG-wide through new partnerships with donors as well as new industry partners.
"The timely availability of highly accurate data is key to the development of effective health policy. PNG IMR and our stakeholders encourage the government, donors and industry to build upon the foundation set by the success of our partnership with EMPNG and the PNG LNG Project," he said.
As noted by Dr. Gary Krieger, Senior Partner with Newfields, who advised EMPNG on the community health program design and supported IPIECA's development of the updated HIA guidelines, the iHDSS program was a first for the oil and gas industry worldwide.
"The data collected under the iHDSS has helped improve accurate diagnosis of disease at the village level and has also aided provincial and national health authorities to more effectively plan and implement health services. The successful implementation of the iHDSS in PNG serves as a model not only for public-private partnerships in PNG, but for industry globally."
In addition to the IPIECA recognition, EMPNG's community health partnerships were featured at the 2016 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) conference on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility held in Norway in April.
The iHDSS program and TB management initiatives were presented at the SPE conference, along with EMPNG's public-partnership approach in engaging with PNGIMR.
SPE is the largest individual-member organisation serving managers, engineers, scientists and other professionals within the oil and gas industry.