For Jemimah Taganny, Georgina Matengim, and Margaret Maku, April is going to be a big month, as they’ll be graduating from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) as medical doctors. But before that can happen, they needed to complete one last placement in rural health — a requirement they fulfilled aboard the medical ship the MV YWAM PNG.
The UPNG students just completed a deployment to Oro Province, and are now on their next deployment to Milne Bay Province. When they were asked to describe their time with the ship thus far, Ms Taganny says, “The two words I would use are challenging and positive.”
The clinical days were long and diverse. The three students went out to villages with the primary health care teams, playing different roles in the clinic, whether it be triaging, outpatient services, or antenatal check-ups.
They each had favourite moments: Ms Taganny treated a case of cerebral malaria in a young child, Ms Maku collaborated with the team’s pharmacists on an intriguing ear problem, and Ms Matengim cannulated and rehydrated a severely dehydrated patient. “When you’re here in the village, it’s up to you. You see something and it challenges you to think, I think that’s the part I like about this placement,” said Ms Matengim.
The experience also gave them insight into the unique healthcare challenges in rural communities. “It gives me a different view on how I can make an impact on rural communities because at the end of the day, that’s where everyone is,” said Ms Taganny.
Professor of Public Health at UPNG, Professor Georgia Guldan, was also pleased her students were able to partner with the ship in Oro and Milne Bay. She said, “We at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences are delighted to have students gaining YWAM training experience.
“We like our students to have experiences in as many of PNG’s diverse rural environments as possible, and YWAM adds some remote island and coastal medical situations to the other more land-based highlands, bush, and swamp medical situations students find elsewhere.”
In their two-week Oro deployment, the students and their team members treated over 3,100 patients across 24 villages. The experience furthered the students’ excitement to launch into their medical careers. “I feel humbled that I will be able to go out and help people,” said Ms Taganny.