This was possible through a refresher course supported by the Australia-China-PNG Trilateral Malaria Project.
The three-day course from 27 to 29 March was held at the University of Papua New Guinea’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Port Moresby, and facilitated by malaria experts from the National Department of Health (NDoH), PNG Institute of Medical Research, Central Public Health Laboratory and the World Health Organisation.
Topics covered included the latest PNG malaria information and current diagnosis and treatment methods. A strong message conveyed was the importance of diagnosing malaria using rapid diagnostic tests or looking at blood with a microscope, rather than clinical diagnosis, as it is much more effective and accurate.
NDoH’s Malaria Program Manager, Leo Makita, said the training of trainers is an important step in ensuring early and accurate diagnosis for the more than one million malaria cases in PNG each year.
“The main objective of this refresher is to actually teach our community health workers to diagnose and treat malaria using newer methods. Protocols have changed over the years and our frontline health workers must be upskilled,” Makita said.
“We are training two trainers from each of the community health worker schools across the country. We see this as better than training community health workers who are already working in their field.
“It is better that training starts at individual schools, so every student graduating from the schools can then apply it when they get into the health centres and hospitals they will be working in.”
The participants included those from some of the remotest locations – Kapuna in Gulf Province, Telefomin in West Sepik and Rumginei in Western Province.
In addition to training trainers, the current community health worker school teaching curriculum will be updated to the newest methods of malaria diagnosis and treatment.
(Community health worker trainers hold their certificates after completing a malaria refresher course at the University of PNG’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Port Moresby)