When Betty John was undergoing a difficult and long labour at the remote Wanikipa health facility on a Saturday in late September, Hela Provincial Hospital doctors were called for help and they in turn called Oil Search Foundation staff at Tari to mobilise an evacuation helicopter.
Early on Sunday morning, a specialist medevac nurse and a midwife from the Oil Search Moro clinic flew to Wanikipa and took Mrs John to Tari.
There Dr Tana Kiak decided Mrs John needed an urgent Caesarean section to deliver the baby. The procedure was done within the hour, delivering a healthy baby boy.
Speaking from her hospital bed, Mrs John thanked everyone for the combined effort, which involved rural health facility nurses at Wanikipa, Hela Provincial Hospital staff, Oil Search medical and occupational Health, aviation teams and the Oil Search Foundation.
Oil Search said this evacuation was the first of its kind for the Hela Provincial Health Authority. In the past patients, were transferred to Mendi or Mt Hagen. Since the opening of the Hela PHA in October 2016, the hospital now has 11 doctors, including a surgeon and an obstetrician.