Rorayu Rifireka holds a unique position as the first and only physiotherapist at Braun Memorial Hospital in Finschhafen District, Morobe Province. While she thrived in her role, the lack of collegial input could be draining — so she was thrilled that the YWAM Medical Ship, MV YWAM PNG, was arriving in Finschhafen.
During the ship’s week-long stay, its Australian physiotherapist, Alan Kent, went on patient rounds with Rifireka. He also trained her in techniques such as strapping, which can provide joint stabilisation and pain relief. “This was my first time for strapping,” beamed Ms Rifireka, “I’m very happy Alan taught me.”
While most physiotherapists specialise in a certain focus, Ms Rifireka serves all the area’s physiotherapy needs, from geriatrics to paediatrics. “She’s doing an incredible job,” said Mr Kent.
Mr Kent noted that her gym was spacious but bare; only a few pieces of equipment lined the walls. When he returned to the ship, he raided its stores, searching for physiotherapy supplies that would be suitable for Ms Rifireka’s patients needs in her clinic.
When he walked into Ms Rifireka’s gym later that week, he handed her resistance bands, strapping tape and other supplies. As realisation dawned, Ms Rifireka began to weep. The encouragement from her fellow colleague had already ministered to her, and the donated equipment only furthered her excitement to continue serving her patients.
Alan & Rorayu assessing a patient together in Rorayu’s clinic at Braun Hospital.