A Male carrying a solar panel while working on a muddy road heading into the remote community of Wasengla
Photo supplied by Julian Wolf

When a resident of Vanimo, north-western Papua New Guinea, chatted with MAF Technologies staff about what they were doing in the region, he was shocked at the remoteness of their work.

A Story by MAF Technologies, Joy Suarkia

Deputy workshop manager Julian Wolf and MAF Technician Steven Zota told the man they were carrying out an installation for the Wasengla health post and the local exclaimed, “That is out in the bush! Even we ourselves don’t go there because it is so remote.”

It is the isolation of the health post in West Sepik Province that makes the work of MAF Technologies so essential. Julian and Steven were part of a team bringing radio communication to the health facility, enabling it to stay in contact with other health services.

The Deputy Director for the Public Health Service in Vanimo, Symphorian Sumun, described the challenge of working in such isolation.

“It is just so difficult for immediate patient care support like emergencies or dissemination of health messaging and information for our health workers especially in remote areas where mobile coverage or road accessibility is non-existent,” Mr Sumun said.

The HF radio installation and maintenance work in the community health post means it can connect with other communities and heath care workers.

Julian, from Germany, puts his skills in electrical engineering to good use with MAF Technologies in PNG. The workshop is based in Goroka, but the needs of remote villages mean he gets to experience the isolation that communities face.

“Seeing that the radio is the only reliable means of communication for these areas made me appreciate what MAF Technologies does,” he said.

“What we do enables the remote community health workers to reach out to the District Hospital without having to wait for good network or having to hike up the next mountain just to save a life.”

Julian wolf, MAF Tech staff and locals assisting in removing the vehicle from a muddy bush track
Photo by Steven Zato
Julian Wolf (left) with the locals posing after assisting in pulling their vehicle from a muddy road track to Wasengla community

The region’s health boss said that having functional radio in Wasengla means patients’ referrals or emergencies responses can be better coordinated.

“Communication between our health care workers is now existing unlike before!” he said.

Mr Sumun said the health posts had suffered from instances of vandalism and theft that occurs regularly.

“We still go ahead to purchase new batteries or panels to replace those stolen or vandalised just to ensure there is communication between our rural health workers and those from the district or provincial head offices,” he said.

Mr Sumun plans to continue to restore radio communications to all their health facilities in the West Sepik Province and prioritise health post in remote areas.

He is happy with the service that MAF Technologies provides to ensure that their radios for health workers are functional, and he looks forward to continuing the work with MAF Technologies.

Click here to learn more about MAF Technologies' Radio Installations. Communications — MAF Technologies Papua New Guinea

Wasengla health post
Photo by Julian Wolf
Wasengla health post in remote Vanimo region