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Our Stories

Communication That Save Lives

by | Sep 22, 2020 | HF Radio, What CRMF Does

Dr. Barry Kirby with wife Kila Kirby attending to a call from their newly installed HF Radio.

The Hands of Rescue foundation (THOR) founded by Dr. Barry Kirby in 2011, is a non-profit organization based in Alotau, Milne Bay Province. The THOR foundation exists to provide necessary help and services that help to reduce and prevent maternal mortality by providing programs focused on the safe and healthy motherhood for women within the Milne Bay Province and the wider PNG community.

The foundation is currently run by Dr. Barry Kirby with his wife Kila Kirby, and consists of a number of volunteers and a few outside teams of supporters from Australia who provide extra help and support needed to keep THOR functional.

Dr. Barry with THOR’s medevac service plane.
Dr. Barry and Kila doing a verbal autopsy.
Distribution of the mother and baby incentive gifts.

The services provided by THOR include the distribution of mother and baby incentive gifts; training for local nurses and health extension officers and community health workers on the ways of treating and providing assistance for difficult deliveries, complications and family planning.  They also provide medical drug supplies, solar light and water installations, bonuses for local health workers and several other services. Click the button to find out more.

In 2016, they purchased an iconic DHC-2 Dehavilland Beaver Amphibian. The aircraft is a 1961 model, Canadian-built and is the first of its kind (floatplane) in PNG. The aircraft is convenient for the PNG terrain and it provides fast medical services to mothers in Alotau and other places within PNG.
 DHC-2 Dehavilland Beaver Amphibian
For years Dr. Barry had noticed the need for reliable and convenient communication, and had the initiative to provide an Alarm Centre but did not have enough funds to do so. Without a reliable communication system, it was quite difficult to meet the needs and demands of the remote health centres and mothers who needed 24/7 help and assistance within the Milne Bay Province and around PNG.
CRMF team testing the HF Radio with Dr. Barry and Kila after doing the HF Radio installation.

Thanks to generous sponsors from Energy Queensland and Mobile Communication, Queensland, CRMF was able to donate and install the latest Codan HF radio for THOR’s Alarm Centre.

Dr. Barry communicating via his hand-held radio.
The installation took a while for both our CRMF Technicians Gollinson and Sander to install because they had to do a crossover from the HF radio to VHF and a hand-held radio.  This type of installation makes communication more convenient and easier for remote health centres to transfer calls to the alarm centre or directly to Dr. Barry and Kila at their home through their VHF radio and even to the car via their hand-held radio.
Dr. Barry said in an interview, “Our next intervention was to get a 24/7 Alarm Canter and we had been working on this for a long time and to achieve that we’ve reached out to CRMF and I’m very proud to say that we’ve got the latest in “Codan” technology with the HF Radio crossover… We’ve got that operational here today and it is FANTASTIC!”

The newly installed HF radio, is reliable and provides 24/7 communication for THOR and enables the remote health centres within the Milne Bay Province to directly contact Dr. Barry and his wife for help and assistance. The HF radio also makes it easier for both Dr. Barry and Kila to do weather checks before flying out and also ward rounds in each health centre to monitor mothers who are likely to have complications when delivering. The HF Radio saves time and saves lives by reducing maternal death rates within the Milne Bay Province.

Please click the button below to find out more about the THOR foundation.

Dr. Barry using the newly installed HF radio.