‘Bridging gaps’: MAF equips rural doctors with essential radio skills
How training will help medical staff in remote parts of PNG to overcome isolation by sharing expertise.
Participant Doctor, Joseph Maine during a session of the HF radio training.
Six medical doctors have learned a new set of skills as they battle to overcome isolation by
setting up High Frequency (HF) radio connections for their clinics.
Doctor Cinderella Gaso was part of the group taking part in the two-week course at the MAF
Technologies training centre in Goroka to learn solar and HF radio installation, basic
troubleshooting of technical issues.
She has spent the last nine years working between the remote Kairiku and Goilala districts in
Central Province, and she said the real issue many rural hospitals and health centres face is
the lack of communication systems and technical expertise.
“Coming here and becoming more hands-on has been beneficial for me because the training
bridges many gaps that I’ve had to face in my nine years of practise,” Dr Gaso said.
“I’ve travelled to many isolated health centres and noticed the main issues faced were lack
of communication system, no proper power supply and other technical issues that can be
She emphasized that training like this is important to them because there is a great need for
technical assistance in remote district hospitals in order to keep the facilities operating.
“As for many rural hospitals, we do not have the luxury of having technicians, electricians, or
even plumbers to care for the medical systems, which is something many rural hospitals
lack. Such abilities gained from this training are important to us doctors since they will allow us
to instruct other medical officers at our rural hospitals to address basic technical issues on
our own,” she added.
Trainees setting up the HF Radio system during an outdoor session.
Doctor Micah Misivet, another participant from Warangoi rural hospital in Pomio, East New Britain Province, was glad that the training involved more than just the basics of solar and HF radio systems.
“I had no idea there was more to it; I’ve gained a lot merely understanding the physics of radio and solar systems. I now understand why using an HF radio and proper solar systems are more vital while being situated in remote areas,” Dr Misivet said.
Meanwhile, MAF Technologies Workshop Manager, Lukas Schadegg, stated that the training, with the rural medicine program of the PNG Society of Rural and Remote Health, was a success because the participants began with the fundamentals of electronics and then had to complete the course of building an HF Radio with solar installations on their own.
“With zero experience on HF radio and solar systems, yet they demonstrated an impressive result of successfully completing the installation course,” he said.
Lukas commended the trainees and their coordinator Doctor David Mills, for providing them the opportunity to acquire such significant training, which is recognised as a way forward in bringing health services to rural areas of PNG.
MAF Technologies trainers and trainees posing for a picture after successfully completing their Course.
Apart from the medical doctors, other attendees were technical officers from Eastern Highlands Provinciual Health Authority (EHPHA), officers from the New Tribes Mission (NTM), and MAF Technologiesown radio trainees.