PNG Celebrates 36 Years of “Independence”

September 27, 2011 - 10:00am
On September 16, 2011, Papua New Guinea celebrated its 36 years of independence and freedom.  All throughout the week, the excitement of this coming holiday was visibly noticeable as local folks prepared traditional costumes and attires and erected makeshift vending stands at open grasslands where various cultural shows and dances were held.  Many were on the streets selling items with PNG... Read More

Betel Nut Chewing – Does It Stain PNG’s Culture?

September 22, 2011 - 10:00am
Back in May, when I first arrived in Papua New Guinea, I was a tad bit alarmed to notice the local folks with bright orange-red stained mouth, teeth, tongue, and lips.  As a healthcare practitioner, my mind instantly went to overdrive as I thought of a few medical differential diagnoses that would have explained what I was seeing (i.e. Vit. B12 deficiency, Vincent’s angina, severe gingivitis with... Read More

PNG Health Clinics – Challenges and Road Blocks

September 20, 2011 - 10:00am
FHI360 (formerly Family Health International) PNG Country Office, in collaboration with HOPE Worldwide PNG Country Office, jointly supports two community health centers in the National Capital District of Port Moresby—Lawes Road and Nine Mile Urban Clinics.  In addition, FHI360 also supports Id Inad Clinic, a healthcare facility within Modilon General Hospital in the northern province of Madang... Read More

It's broken...but don't throw it out!

September 15, 2011 - 10:00am
One of the Kenya lab staff said to me, “You are the first ones to help us with these machines.  They give to us and we try, but don’t know how to use (the machines).”  Poor equipment maintenance and understanding of the machines is a reality in the African vaccine labs.  The end result is the machines sit idle, deemed broken, and potentially cause vaccine production delays. The labs typically run... Read More

Nursing and Physician Shortage – Even in PNG!

September 15, 2011 - 10:00am
Without a doubt, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a developing nation in the Western Pacific that faces inadequacy and weakness in healthcare infrastructure.  The country is under-resourced in terms of medical infrastructure and although steadily improving, the overall standards of health and healthcare in the country are really not that good.  Problems such as these are caused by compounding and... Read More

Bridging Healthcare Partnerships and Alliances in PNG; Not so Easy

September 13, 2011 - 10:00am
I was overwhelmed with mixed emotions prior to leaving my home state of Connecticut to travel to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to share my scientific background in clinical research and pharmacology with my bedside advanced practice nursing skills as an Adult Nurse Practitioner with FHI360 (formerly Family Health International).  I was happy and sad, excited and anxious, and a tad bit nervous about the... Read More

Humming to the Beatles' Song, “In My Life”

September 13, 2011 - 10:00am
Tears were threatening to flow out of my eyes as Shambel, the Ethiopia lab’s maintenance head, said to me, “This is not America.  This is Africa…we do things at our own time.”  We were in his office discussing project support for installing utilities to the new freeze dryer donated through the VACNADA project.  I was trying to impress upon him the importance of making and meeting commitments to... Read More


September 8, 2011 - 10:00am
This is the third time this week that we forgot to buy and bring bottled water.  It is another day that we leave lunch feeling thirsty. The water at the Ethiopia lab facilities is non-potable sourced from a borehole.   The staff has adapted in various ways.  The Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC) office purchased a water purifying dispenser for their office and drive in a few 10L... Read More

The Wantok System in Papua New Guinea: Is It Good or Bad?

September 6, 2011 - 10:00am
Papua New Guinean culture is traditionally rich and deeply rooted from its history not too long ago as an unexplored island nation and then becoming a colonized country soon after.  Fundamental to this pervasive culture is the wantok system (in Tok Pisin language), which when translated literally means “one-talk”.  Wantoks (clan or kinsmen) are an indigenous population who speak the same tokples... Read More

Computers as a second language

September 1, 2011 - 10:00am
Today, I was thinking about one of my favorite teachers.  Her name is Ms. Savoy, and she was my ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher when I was attending 2nd thru 4th grade in a small town in Western Massachusetts.  Having just immigrated to the United States, I only spoke and understood Chinese.  Ms. Savoy was a native English speaker and did not converse in Chinese.  She patiently... Read More