Over just six days, the foundation team was able to treat more than 2000 people in the remote Turama district in Gulf Province.
The foundation said that the patrol, comprising 13 health workers and one medical officer split into two teams and took six days to cover more than eight villages in upper and middle Turama to deliver basic health education and medical services.
They provided immunisation for children, TB screening, eye and dental care, general outpatient care, and awareness on hygiene, nutrition and family planning, TB and HIV/AIDS.
"The entire area is only accessible by air or via the Kikori River and is currently serviced by two clinics situated at logging camps. The patrol team reported that people turned up in big numbers and were quite keen to hear the messages on health education," the foundation said.
Elizah Esi, a 30-year-old eye patient from Komaio who received a new pair of lenses, was overjoyed. "I could hardly see my spouse from a distance but now I can see her clearly," he said.
He was among about 62 men, women and schoolchildren whose eyes were tested and were either prescribed glasses or were given a pair by the team.
Robert Bosari, councillor for Haivaro, Kuri and Moka 1 and 2 villages in the West Kikori LLG, thanked the patrol team on behalf of the people.
"Our gratitude goes to Oil Search and Oil Search Foundation for bringing this vital service to us. If it wasn't for these two organisations, our people wouldn't have received this help," he said. "I must also thank our partners from the Kerema and Kikori hospitals, who allowed their nurses and doctor to bring help right to our doorsteps instead of our sick people travelling long distances to seek help."
The patrol comprised two teams of health workers from the Kikori and Kerema hospitals, Marie Stopes PNG, Gulf Provincial Health, Gulf Christian Services and Oil Search Foundation.
In six days they helped 37 people with dental complaints; gave glasses to 32 people; administered vitamin A and over 1200 vaccines for 352 children under five years; screened, diagnosed and treated more than 400 people with general outpatient ailments; administered 19 family planning implants for women; performed two non-scalpel vasectomies on men, screened and identified 18 people with suspected TB; attended to 14 pregnant mothers; and supervised the successful delivery of a baby.
Other remote neighbouring border villages from Southern Highlands and Western provinces also turned up to seek medical assistance from the patrol team at Haivaro and Kuri logging camp.