Balimo Health District   Balimo Health District

 

Balimo PNG Health Worker Support Fund

This fund has been set up by Tanya Diefenbach-Elstob to support community health workers based at Balimo District Hospital in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea.

Our research group, led by A/Prof Jeff Warner, has collaborated with health workers in this region for more than 20 years. This collaboration includes the establishment of the ‘Maybe Melioidosis’ program, which focuses on identifying and treating cases of the disease in this melioidosis-endemic region, where our research has found children to be particularly at risk.

More recently, we have been working closely with local hospital staff to support the Balimo tuberculosis (TB) control program. Past research has focused on characterising drug-resistant isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism that causes TB. We have also described the facilitators and barriers of TB treatment adherence in this region, where the long treatment regimen combines with other factors such as difficult transport and subsistence living to make treatment particularly challenging for patients. We are currently investigating the epidemiology of TB in the Balimo district, as well as examining clinical diagnoses of TB in this region where advanced laboratory diagnostics are not available.

Local capacity-building is an essential part of our collaborative work in the Balimo region. Our aims with this fund are two-fold:

  • Direct support of local health workers. This includes provision of equipment that can enhance their day-to-day health-related activities; as well as through upskilling by providing funds to assist in undertaking research and coursework degrees at JCU.
  • Support of the Balimo District Hospital laboratory through supply of equipment and consumables that allow the laboratory to expand its diagnostic abilities.

 

 
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