Who knew that a solar panel could potentially save lives? In the village of Karati in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea, a solar panel has enabled power for a refrigerator that will now be able to store vaccinations for the whole surrounding region!
The refrigerator and solar panels were donated to the village two years ago, but without the means of making it work, it had just been sitting there. YWAM Medical Ships – Australia’s (YWAM MSA) engineers on board were able to set up the solar panels and connect the refrigerator, making it operational to store life-sustaining immunisations for Karati and its surrounding villages.
Fiona is a nurse in the village. Trained at the Kapuna School of Nursing, she came back to her home village to work at the local clinic and is passionate about health care in the region. Up until now, the clinic used a company fridge to store the vaccines. “It was good but then the gas would run out for the fridge and we would have to stop our work. Then we would have to wait to receive more gas and then start again”, she said, her eyes full of frustration. She had trained and received the skills to be able to help but was unable to as a result of something as simple as having no power for a fridge.
The last two days that YWAM MSA spent in Karati were very busy with infant vaccinations. The primary health care team was very happy to be able to offer this service to the village; and now for a longer lasting impact, there is a way for Fiona to vaccinate not only her village, but also other villages in the region – all year round.
After two years of having the skills and resources but no power, the health care workers from Karati joyfully made their way to Baimuru station today to pick up some more vaccinations.
Dr Sarah Dunn, doctor on the YWAM Medical Ship said, “I really want to applaud the health care workers that work in these villages with a small number personnel and resources. They really do a fantastic job.”