Rural community shows ingenuity under new normal


Whilst PNG’s more developed urban centres take for granted and at times tend to ignore health and safety measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the remote and rural communities seem to be more attentive using whatever little resources with the most basic of services they have to safeguard themselves from the global pandemic.

A perfect example is given from Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), one of much the needed NGOs operating in PNG that are providing their services to some of these communities accessible only through air.

Introducing the concept of washing hands at Kapal, Western Province:

When pilot Mathias Glass landed at Kapal, he was surprised to see a crowd of people and a decorated “something” at the parking bay.

Because of several unexpected delays in his schedule, he had planned for a quick turn around to pick up the team from the Aerial Health Patrol (AHP) which was dropped at Kapal earlier this week. But of course, he had to make time to investigate what he was seeing.

Mathias explains: “The AHP team introduced the WASH project to Kapal, which includes education on washing hands with clean water after someone had been to the toilet, and before someone is about to eat.”

To start this new season of washing hands, they have created this little station near the parking bay at the airstrip with a ribbon on it and decorated it nicely. It was pilot’s honour to cut the ribbon with everyone watching and clapping hands. This is the start of a new era for Kapal, where everyone is now encouraged to wash their hands.

“I made it clear that washing hands is important, especially in this time of Covid-19; that they need to stay healthy and strong and should not get sick and the best protection is to have clean hands. So washing hands is now a habit – no – maybe not a habit yet, but it’s now practiced in Kapal, which was not the case before thanks to the team of the AHP.”

Photo Credit: MAF PNG

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