Published on 20th October 2014
Univol Rosie Paterson worked in the CADR Projects office with Phil Dolby in 2013. Along with working on the nurses’ accommodation and other projects, she helped St Mary’s apply for a vehicle for medical staff to perform their twice-weekly community visits. The hospital had just one, limiting their reach and ability to perform certain services. Rosie notes, for instance, that maternal and child health were taking precedence over HIV and AIDS outreach.
Sister Susan Gevia, head of the CADR HIV/AIDS office took the idea to Rosie and together they approached Jean-Pascal Henry of the Digicel Foundation (Digicel is PNG’s largest telco) with an application for 75,000 kina for a new vehicle. Standing next to the new ambulance behind his house in Kokopo, Jean-Pascal, who says he bonded with Rosie over football games on the lawn, says “I said we’d double it – K180,000. I’ve travelled a lot in those remote regions and I knew this is the best thing to give.” ‘This’ is a Toyota Landcruiser ambulance, fully equipped with medical supplies, refrigerated cabinets, a gurney and oxygen tanks.
Jean-Pascal, who handed over the keys to St Mary’s the week after we met, says the Foundation sees the vehicle as a pilot for a potential fleet. They’ve attached requirements, such as visits to certain numbers of people in certain regions, and the CADR will be responsible for its upkeep, but “if it goes well, Digicel would look into providing more.”
Rosie had extended her assignment at the end of last year, hoping to be around for delivery, which illustrates how slowly wheels can grind in development. But she was sent photos of the delivery ceremony in July and now says simply, “it’s awesome news.”