To our valued support team,
We have just returned from a very successful trip to our hepatitis B project in Papua New Guinea from March 4-11, 2023. Because of COVID, this was our first visit to PNG since November, 2019. During our trip we conducted three clinics at Mamba, Embi, and Siroga and also saw patients at Popondetta General Hospital. While our team concentrated on the care of patients infected with hepatitis B, we also saw uninfected patients with a wide range of medical problems. We saw approximately 200 patients, conducted nearly 300 rapid tests for hepatitis, and started about 40 patients on treatment. We were blessed to have Grace Moon, an expert sonographer, join our team whose insightful ultrasound interpretation greatly enhanced our diagnostic capabilities. We also initiated discussions with the CEO of Popondetta General Hospital and managers at NBPOL (the company that supports our efforts) to renew and revise our Memorandum of Understanding. As always, hepatitis B training of health care providers and public health education were important objectives. A general lecture and public forum was held during one evening gathering. Training of health care workers was done at each of the clinic sites and a half day lecture series was performed at Popondetta General Hospital. Donations of medical equipment such as vital signs monitors, birth kits, EKG machines, fetal heartbeat monitors, and pulse oximeters were carried with the team and distributed to the clinics and Popondetta General Hospital. One of our team members has a particular passion for childhood health education and gave several talks at local schools about hygiene and public health topics.
We were encouraged by the enthusiasm displayed by our colleagues in PNG. There is a growing realization by policy makers in PNG of the magnitude of the public health problem that hepatitis B presents. The unique partnership with a local business, the provincial health authority, government, and our non-profit NGO has become a widely recognized model to emulate. It is significant that our project is the only hepatitis B treatment program that exists in all of Papua New Guinea. We are hopeful that we can extend our model to other provinces in PNG. We have entered into negotiations to establish a similar program in the Milne Bay region and plan to return every 6 months.
We are also busy with our other projects in Tonga, Fiji, Kiribati, and Myanmar. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to visit these locations within the next year. Our next new project will commence in April, 2023 when two of our team members will travel to Madagascar. Once again, we are so thankful for your support which helps us finance our treatment programs, bringing hope to areas greatly affected by this insidious disease.
With great appreciation,