FOR 10 years Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) and Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) has provided support to the health sector in Western Province. This support, which concluded in December 2018, was provided through the North Fly Health Services Development Program (NFHSDP) and the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) Middle and South Fly Health Program (CMSFHP). These two primary health care programs were partnerships between government and church health service providers, OTML, OTDF, and Abt Associates as the implementation partner.
In 2018, an evaluation of the programs was undertaken, to determine whether they met the goal to contribute towards strengthened primary health care and health services in North Fly District and Middle and South Fly CMCA Trust Regions, in line with the objectives of the National Health Plan 2011–2020. A summary version of this end-line evaluation report was published as a supplement, on April 12, 2019 in the Post Courier.
This evaluation report presents the significant achievements of the public private partnership during the life of the program from 2009 to 2018. Outcomes include 55,000 outpatients in CMSFHP and over 151,000 outpatients in NFHSDP were seen during program attachments to health facilities and outreach in communities. Over 350,000 attendances were recorded at community awareness sessions covering key topics, such as tuberculosis and malaria, personal hygiene and the importance of immunisation. Over 100,000 vaccinations were administered to children under 5 years of age.
OTDF is proud to have facilitated the delivery of improved health care outcomes across Western Province. The Foundation’s CEO Ian Middleton acknowledged these successes achieved over a decade in collaboration with Abt Associates. “These achievements would not have been possible without the support from all partners, acceptance from our CMCA community and the heartfelt commitment from Abt Associates program staff who went above and beyond all expectations to positively change the lives of the Western people.”
NFHSDP and CMSFHP Program Manager, Kelly Kewa, said: “It was very difficult when we started; however as the programs continued we were able to bring all the partners to one table, come up with regular meetings and people understood each other’s roles and responsibilities and shared resources to achieve better results. We were able to bring essential health programs like immunisations, water supply, medicines and treating people with various health conditions to many remote and isolated villages.”
The evaluation found that 75% of the approximately 800 community members surveyed felt that the program had contributed positively to their community, while 92% of those who sought treatment at their nearest health facility received the services they had visited for, a far cry from the days before the program started. These outcomes have contributed to Western being the most improved performing province in PNG according to the 2017 SPAR report released by the National Department of Health.
One community member from Middle Fly District said that “Aiambak Aid Post improved its health services because of this program. When Abt came into the program, they changed everything. Now we have the best Aid Post in our village. The health services today are much better than five years ago.”
While Western Province’s performance has improved, there is significant strengthening required to meet targeted health standards. OTML and OTDF look forward to supporting the establishment of a Provincial Health Authority to sustain an improvement trend in health services delivery.
Picture: A Western Province mother having her child immunised at Kautru Village, Suki Fly Gogo