Let there be light
“This marks a new chapter in our community where Law and order and other disorder have been a major concern. The light that we see in our community clinic does not only bring physical change to the community, but it also brings spiritual and mental changes as well.”
The trip to Kwaplalim was a trip like no other. Kwaplalim is a small remote village surrounded by a vast greenery of mountain range that’s located in the tropical area of Menyamya, Morobe Province. The purpose for the trip there was for MAF Technologies (CRMF) to do a solar installation for the Kwaplalim sub-health centre. The health centre is owned and run by the Lutheran Health Services and consist of six community health workers working 24/7 around the clock.
Remote Kwaplalim community in Morobe Province.
Since the health centre is suited in the remote border of Morobe province, Eastern Highlands province and also the Gulf province it is considered a central place for surrounding villages and communities to receive help.
The facility is well established and provides a patient’s ward, a delivery room, a mini laboratory, an operating theater and a drug room. The facility also includes a vaccine fridge, a concentrator and other medical equipment’s to facilitate for the needs of the patients.
Community health worker (CHW) attending to a patient at night without any reliable use of power source.
Like many other clinics across the remote communities of Papua New Guinea – Kwaplalim’s geographic remote location and setting makes it impossible for their sub – health centre to have access to reliable electricity. This has led to serious problems, including the spoil and waste of medicines, vaccines and the inability to use essential medical and diagnostic devices; even the lack of basic lighting and communications complicates treatments—especially during emergency procedures when performing surgical suture on a patient or assisting a pregnant woman deliver her child. Lack of electricity in Kwaplalim limits working hours and inhibits the deployment of medical technology that could help save a life.
MAF Technologies, Electrician, Simeon Tom made a remark that the community were in dire need for reliable electricity in order for their health workers to serve their community more effectively and for the patients to receive the help that they so desperately needed.
One of the most common cases reported at the Kwaplalim sub- health centre are usually patients who are victims to the ongoing ferocity of tribal conflicts that frequently occurs on a daily basis at Kwaplalim. These tribal fights are sparked by disputes over land, resources and other grievances leading to dozens of deaths, injuries and thousands of displacements.
Injured patient often come in with parts of their body lacerated or open wounds that would need numerous stitches and rigorous care. During such emergencies, the community health worker attending to the patients would rely on their mobile phone flash light or torch light. They would have someone nearby assist them to hold their mobile flash light or torch light in place whiles they attempt to help the patient. Other times the community health worker would have no other option but to place the torch in their mouth to secure the light while they attend to the patient. This practice is more challenging when attending to a patients during the long hours of the night.
The community health worker is pictured with a torch light secured in his mouth while he attends to a patient who’s right hand was lacerated from the cause of tribal conflict. One of the patient’s relative help assist with another torch light.
Security and safety were also another main concern for the patients and the community health workers. At night, the whole facility was left in total darkness which attracted outsiders to break in. They used this as an advantage to steal from patients and sadly women and even community health workers became victims to harassment due to the lack of light which provided a sense of security.
MAF Tech team installing the solar panel on the Kwaplalims sub-health center’s roof.
The solar installation was made possible through the generous support from Care International. They funded the solar system to be installed for the Kwaplalim sub – health centre. It was a huge blessing for MAF Technologies to be involved with the solar installation project.
Despite the limited time frame given to do the solar installation, they managed to successfully install and set up the solar system for the Kwaplalim sub-health center within a period of just two weeks.
“God has seen the need for this health facility and has made it possible for the installation to take place so that people could be helped and lives could be saved. I am glad that I can be a part of MAF Technologies (CRMF) work which continues to save lives.” ~ Electrician, Brian Bimako with MAF Technologies (CRMF).
The sub- health center fully lit at night.
The patients sleeping peacefully at night reassured that there is light provided.
The new solar power system provides adequate lighting and electricity that now facilitate the needs of the patients and also makes the community health workers job much easier and less challenging.
Brian Bimako added that, “Upon seeing the hospital lit up after a very long time, the villagers said this marks a new chapter in their community where Law and order and other disorder has been a major concern. They expressed that the light that they see in their community clinic does not only bring physical change to the community, but it also brings spiritual and mental changes as well.
The new solar installation indicates the sign of help, hope and healing to everyone in the community.”