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Our Stories

Remote Communities kept informed of COVID-19 through CRMF service

by | Mar 19, 2020 | HF Radio, New!, What CRMF Does

There has been increase in ways and means to communicate in our towns and cities. This luxury is not readily available in remote parts of PNG. Its significance has especially come to bear at this time of COVID-19 outbreak.

Following the first COVID-19 case in Papua New Guinea in March of this year, the Government passed a State of Emergency (SOE) to help prevent spread of the disease. These included an initial 14-days lockdown. Services provided by both government and non-government organizations was limited and, in many instances, could not be delivered.

Majority of our population who live in remote communities were left unaware as transport and accessibility and communications they relied on were also severely affected.

During the 14-day lockdown CRMF was constantly keeping a monitor on the HF Radio in case of emergencies and especially health emergencies.

On the 27th of March, 2020 we received a report from Tinibil Community Health Worker of a light aircraft coming in from Indonesia and landing on Tinibil Airstrip on the 25th of March, 2020 around 10am.

There were other similar reports of planes landing in Oxibin, Okyop and Batoam Airstrips along the PNG/Indonesia boarder. The locals were very concern with the current SOE in place and asked to report to Police Minister Honourable Brian Kremer and relevant authorities of such violation.

CRMF was also asked to use its network to reach remote communities with awareness of COVID-19 pandemic.
Jack Horopo, a follower from our Facebook page commented, “Please we really need awareness about this virus in the most remote areas of PNG especially places bordering Gulf, Karimui in Chimbu and SHP… Thank you, May God continue to bless your ministry.”

In response, on the 16th and 17th of April, CRMF had the privilege of hosting a live talk-back broadcast via its HF Radio service at 10 in the morning. Joining us for the broadcast was Mr. James Gahare, a Health Promoter from the Eastern Highlands Provincial Health Authority.

James made a one-hour awareness talk and also took time to answer questions that were asked by Radio Operators, Community Health Workers and other Health workers within the remote communities of Papua New Guinea.

CRMF’s total Radio Network includes 580 remote radio stations across Papua New Guinea. Due to network issues and other following issues only eighty stations within 14 provinces were available to join in on this live broadcast.

In addition to being involved in the COVID-19 awareness, the Eastern Highlands Provincial Health Authority (EHPHA) have found it a more effective way to do the awareness for COVID-19 from their vehicles using a PA System, and just recently, CRMF had the privilege of installing PA Systems onto ten of their vehicles. The same installations were done on three other vehicles for the Henganofi Health Centre who also had similar plans to do COVID-19 awareness within the Henganofi community and nearby remote communities.

CRMF continues to provide much needed service to our remote communities, where Government services are missing or not possible, and we thank and praise God for the partnership with Eastern Highlands Provincial Health Authority and Henganofi Health Centre for the opportunity to contribute in the global fight against COVID-19.