Nestled along the Bamu River lies Bamio village; home to 300 people and an aid post that services communities along the lower Bamu and Gama Rivers.
Bamio Aid Post had just been built by the village 10 months ago, replacing a much smaller aid post the community had outgrown due to the demand. The aid post is built out of bush materials and consists of a triage area, maternity ward, medication dispensary, and a storeroom. There is no power or running water.
Bamio’s nurse and two community healthcare workers’ (CHW) daily workload consists of battling communicable diseases, delivering babies, and responding to the general health needs within the community. They persevere through lack of resources and supplies, extreme remoteness, and high maternal and child mortality rates. Despite the challenges, there is a determination in the community to keep moving forward and not give up.
During YWAM Medical Ships visit to Bamio last month, four members of the MV YWAM PNG’s deck and engineering crew, installed a solar lighting kit (Barefoot Connect 3010) in the aid post, donated by Solar Solutions Papua New Guinea and Barefoot Power.
The solar kit consists of solar panels for the aid post’s roof and four lights; providing light to the maternity ward, triage area, medication dispensary, and storeroom. It also includes chargers for the healthcare workers mobile phones, a necessity for their communication to Middle Fly District Health Services and outlying areas.
Before the installation of the solar kit, the healthcare workers only source of light was their mobile phone (when it was charged) or a torch when they had batteries; which proved to be difficult when an emergency came up in the night, or when a woman was in labour. One solar powered light in the aid post can now provide light for a full 24 hours before it needs charging again.
YWAM Medical Ships Field Coordinator, Hannah Peart, said she had been visiting Bamio since 2012.
“Every year I have seen Bamio go from strength to strength. We have seen Bamio Aid Post grow from one healthcare worker operating out of a small hut, servicing a handful of villages, to three healthcare workers operating out of a four-room facility servicing quite a large area.
“The installation of this solar kit in collaboration with Solar Solutions Papua New Guinea and Barefoot Power gives us the opportunity to cheer on the amazing work that the aid post is doing, not just for their community, but for the surrounding villages as well. The addition of solar power to the aid post has given the healthcare workers a real boost,” said Hannah.
YWAM Medical Ships and Solar Solutions Papua New Guinea hope to install solar light kits and solar vaccine fridges in more communities throughout the Southern region and Huon Gulf in collaboration with provincial health authorities.
The MV YWAM PNG visited 22 villages along the Bamu and Gama rivers over the space of nine days last month, providing primary health care, dental and optometry services, and training to 4,315 patients.