Australian Medical Team Transports COVID-19 Supplies for PNG


The Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) have started transporting supplies for COVID-19 to 10 most affected provinces.

At the weekend, they dropped these supplies in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands, Lae in Morobe, Madang and Mt Hagen in the Western Highlands Province. There were five bricks containing these supplies dropped in Mt Hagen which were for Western Highlands, Southern Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu, and Enga. 


There are two more bricks – for NCD and Central – and these will be delivered by road.

Each of these provinces will be receiving 3-tonnes of supplies each, comprising Personal Protective Equipment, oxygen concentrators and essential medicine which will be needed  in surges of cases.

The transportation of these supplies is being conducted using a cargo aircraft belonging to the Royal Australian Air Force. 

AUSMAT came into the country three weeks ago upon the request of the PNG Government to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.

During its preparatory work and assessment of the situation before engaging the rest of the team members, its leadership identified logistics, including transportation as an ongoing issue in the health sector which can impact the overall outcome of a patient’s recovery. 

Most of these cargo are taken from the National Control Centre warehouse in Port Moresby, but there’s also some supplies brought by the AUSMAT team for the different hospitals that are also being delivered. 

There are currently eight clinical members of the AUSMAT team in the country. 

“We also brought logistics experts. The AUSMAT team travelled to Goroka with a biomedical engineer who is helping Goroka General Hospital with checking of its installation of oxygen concentrators and maintenance of these equipment so that they are working properly,’’ said team leader Dr Mark Little. 

The others working with AUSMAT include government officials to work with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ensure the AUSMAT achieves its purpose while in the country.

The team leaders -  Dr Mark Little (emergency physician and clinical toxicologist), John Piispanen ( Environmental Health Officer and Public Health Specialist) and Angie Jackson (Emergency Nurse Practitioner and Midwife) – have been in the country in August last year as well as in March 2021 for the second wave and again this time around for the third wave of COVID-19. 

At the Port Moresby General Hospital, they are not only helping in the clinical and Infection Prevention Control  areas, but also with the leadership of the hospital. 

“We are working with the leadership. In this surge we are seeing many people getting ill, we are helping to make sure IPC (Infection Prevention Control)  is good,’’ said Dr Little.

“This (surge) is a lot worse. It has lots of deaths. The good news, however, is that compared to last week, Goroka looks better, although it is in a bad situation.’’

Dr Little and Mr John Piispanen said they were impressed with the Goroka Hospital staff in how they were managing.

 “They’re organized. The leadership there is very good,’’ said Dr Little and attributed this partly to the domestic EMT headed by Dr Gary Nou who have been at Goroka Hospital  for some weeks now and have just returned to Port Moresby for a break. 

The assistance given by AUSMAT will be given to other provinces as well if needed.

The Deputy Controller of the National Pandemic Response Dr Daoni Esorom thanked the Australia Government, AUSMAT and the ADF for the continuous support to PNG Pandemic Response.

Source: National Department of Health Media Release

Next: Port Moresby General Hospital Hits Crisis State Admitting and Managing Covid-19 Cases

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