Posted on 4 August, 2018

Friday was the last day of surgery here in Port Moresby! Our surgeon Yishay Orr is running a half marathon in Townsville today. So besides performing multiple open-heart surgeries and training the local surgeons all week Yishay has also been in the gym at 5am every day getting in training for her run. The rest of the team leave today also and are already snapping as many selfies as possible with all the kids on the ward!


With one surgery lined up for Saturday morning, the afternoon was an education opportunity. With well over a thousand hours of training already logged up this week (if you read this blog every day you might be a bit tired of the word training), it continues with project work and focused discussions. Led by Open Heart International (OHI) volunteers as well as locals, people split into skill stations relevant to their departments and cardiac surgery. My hope is all those locals in attendance today will retain their interest in the future and hopefully keep the skill level of the cardiac areas here at Port Moresby General Hospital fresh.


One of the hardest things with the program is retaining local staff. As life changes it may become difficult for people to stay in their roles or even get the surgery and cardiac care to happen. Hopefully in the next couple of years we see ongoing, regular high-quality training keep being applied and local staff being able to apply their knowledge and skills for their local community on a frequent basis.

On Thursday, the local hospital media department held a press conference for the local TV stations and newspapers to help gain more support for OHI and its programs here in Papua New Guinea. Speaking today was; Dr Darren Wolfers (OHI Project Coordinator), Dr Paki Molumi (Director of Medical Services and OOH board chair here in Port Moresby), Dr Noah Tapaua (local cardiac surgeon), Dr Corenelia Kilalang (local cardiac paediatrician) and Kathy Johnston (the on the ground coordinator for OHI trips and apart of Operation Open Heart PNG, hospital board member and main independent fundraiser for the local OHI trips).

The local media here is a huge driving force for support here to help OHI trips happen. Having daily coverage in newspapers, whether its front page or page 6; every bit of discussion and coverage gains more support for the cardiac program and awareness here in PNG. The more support that is gained through people like Kathy Johnston and the media the more project work that can happen. This however has its limits with a big focus needing to be on the local government for even more support. The more mainstream support from government avenues for cardiac services and education into lifestyle disease such as heart attack and diabetes, the brighter a future the people of PNG and the greater pacific region have.