Project Information

Health Projects Run by the AHS

Staff Upskilling Programmes
What is the need ?
The appalling and deteriorating health statistics in PNG are well known, particularly high death rates from infectious disease, and high infant and maternal mortality rates, which are the worst in the Pacific Region. The incidence of HIV/AIDS is believed to be spreading at an alarming rate and affecting the most economically active age group.
The gap between the urban and rural populations is widening.

AHS employs 126 staff.
The health workers themselves, are undoubtedly the most important resource in providing and improving health services. As a Church Health Service, it is essential to constantly restate and reinforce the Christian values which permeate everything we do. As in so many countries, the greatest burden of ill health falls on the poor, many of whom live in the most remote areas. It is thus part of our Christian mission to strive to ensure that our services reach these people. Health is a dynamic topic and new ways of delivering health care are being continuously developed. It is essential that our health workers have the opportunity of updating their skills and learning new ways to improve their practice and to reduce the appallingly high sickness and death rates in the rural communities of PNG, particularly women and children.

Who has already been upskilled ?
Tutors, who have had no formal tutor training, were upskilled in 1997. This will need to be repeated for new tutors. Community Health Workers work either in Health Centres as part of a team, or in Aid Posts, where they work totally on their own. They were upskilled in two groups in 1998 and 1999 Officers in Charge, most of whom had no previous management training, were upskilled in July 2001. The second group will be upskilled early in 2002.

Who still needs to be upskilled ?
Primary Health Care Nurses. There are 30 PHC Nurses working in AHS rural hospitals and health centres. Some of these have never had any upskilling since their graduation.
Village Health Volunteers. There are now over 400 Village Health Volunteers, including Village Birth Attendants, Village Health Aides and Village Health Promoters. They all work in remote villages and in isolation from their colleagues.
Village Health Volunteer Coordinators. There is a VBA, VHA and VHP Coordinator in each rural diocese. They are all relatively new to this work and work in isolation from their colleagues in the other diocese.
What topics are included in the upskilling ?
  • Learning new skills
  • Updating existing skills
  • Understanding and inculcating the values and objectives of the AHS Strategy
  • Sharing and learning from each other's experiences
  • Identifying problems and seeking solutions
  • Learning new attitudes and approaches to health
The upskilling workshops for VHV need to include the following additional topics:-

  • Communicating with the Coordinator
  • Checking their kits and supplies
  • Giving them support in their work
Post Basic Training
In addition to the regular upskilling for all staff, we are training at least one health worker in each diocese with the following skills:-

  • Midwifery
  • Eye care
  • Paediatrics
  • Laboratory skills
  • HIV Counselling
These health workers will have responsibility for sharing these skills with other health workers, as well as providing specialist referral services.

Where does Upskilling take place ?
All of our Upskilling workshops have taken place at one of the following locations:-

  • St Barnabas' School of Nursing, Alotau
  • St Margaret's School of Nursing, Popondetta
  • Hetune Convent, Popondetta
Personal stories
I was happy to come to the School to work because I am a CHW and I am teaching CHWs. The Upskilling Workshop taught me new skills and gave me a lot of confidence in what I am doing.
Petra Govira, CHW Tutor, St Margaret's CHW Training School

I work in an Aid Post on my own, which is a big responsibility. As a CHW, I was dependent on the nurses visiting, but now I can do more things on my own, and I am providing the community with a better service.
David Gonawa, CHW, Taupota Aid Post

I was appointed as acting Officer in Charge, but I never had any training in management. I just learnt from my own OIC. Now I understand a lot of things much better, and why I need to do them. I feel much better motivated to do my best.
Morva Kono, a/OIC, St Margaret's Rural Hospital

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This web-site was last updated on the 20th of Oct. 2001