PNG Sustainable Development Program (SDP) and Kacific team up to provide life-changing outcomes to remote Papua New Guinea communities.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kacific collaborated with donors to provide satellite dishes free of charge, plus short-term free internet services for health initiatives in Asia Pacific. In Papua New Guinea, the PNG Sustainable Development Program Limited (SDP) took up this offer to connect 30 remote health facilities in the Western Province with satellite internet.
SDP’s Aerial Health Patrols (AHP) flies into remote communities on a regular basis to deliver primary health care (vaccinations, WASH programs, family planning, maternal health and outpatient clinics). Working together with the AHP team, a group of 4 technicians were able to use the SDP aircraft to deliver and install satellite dishes, and the solar equipment required to power the system (1kW solar kits and LED light fittings).
The satellite installation team departing Ali after a successful installation.
Each installation in these remote communities presented unique logistical challenges including airstrip issues, schedule disruptions due to weather, and technical problems in configuring the service; with the added complication of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created supply delays for equipment and increased restrictions. Several of the communities do not have airstrips so lengthy dinghy trips through swamps, rivers and streams were undertaken. One trip was cancelled at the last minute due to stormy weather and rough conditions.
Health workers from several clinics, including Lake Murray Health Centre, Sasereme Clinic, Habi Aid Post, Wipim Health Centre and Hesalibi Aid Post, are using Kacific’s satellite broadband service to help combat Covid-19. Through the ability to connect to the internet, these health workers are now more informed about the COVID-19 pandemic and can stay updated with the latest developments in Papua New Guinea and abroad. They have used this knowledge to keep their communities better informed by dispelling fears and misconceptions about vaccinations by having access to trusted sources of information.
Installation at the Hesalibi Aid Post.
Communication with specialist care to save lives
Prior to installing their satellite dish and internet connection, the villagers of Habi had to walk three hours to Mougulu through the rough mountain terrain for medical help. Often, they did not reach the health facility in time and the patient dies on the journey. The community leaders were incredibly thankful to be connected to high-speed satellite internet. To receive the satellite dish in the village, the community cooperated to build a new health facility in just one week. Now, thanks to their internet connection, they can communicate with urban health centres or contact SDP’s Aerial Health Patrol staff for advice in medical emergencies.