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The people of Hela Province now have access to 24-hour acute emergency care, with the new Accident and Emergency department opening at Hela Provincial Hospital today.

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Gallagher, said partnering with communities where Santos operates ensures local people benefit from the development of natural gas resources.

“In developing these resources, Santos and PNG are helping the world decarbonise, at the same time providing affordable and reliable energy for communities in the Asia Pacific. We take pride in also developing the regions and improving living standards where we operate through community investments such as the Accident and Emergency department at Hela Provincial Hospital,” Mr Gallagher said.

“At Santos, we are committed to creating positive and long-term impacts in the communities where we live and work.

“Through combined efforts, the opening of this Accident and Emergency department here in Tari will ensure the community has access to around the clock acute emergency care, delivering long-term and potentially life-saving benefits for the local community.

“Together with the Hela Provincial Government, the Australian Government, Oil Search Foundation and a private donation by Hela Provincial Health Authority Board Chairman, Peter Botten, Santos has funded this Accident and Emergency department.

“Santos has a long and rich history with PNG, investing in the nation since the 1980s. We’re proud of this history, and we’re committed to a future of investment and support to the region through Santos’ Oil Search Foundation (OSF).

“Without the support and commitment of the National and Provincial Governments to improve healthcare services for the people of Hela Province, this project would not have been possible. In particular, I acknowledge and thank Prime Minister James Marape, Health Minister Jelta Wong and Hela Governor Philip Undialu.”

Hela Provincial Health Authority CEO Dr James Kintwa, reinforced the important role of partnership in service delivery.

“These facilities are especially important in Hela as we manage rates of traumatic injury,” Dr Kintwa said.

“Through our unique partnership approach which sees Government, the private sector, development partners and NGOs rally around our health plan, we have greatly improved all health services across Hela.

“Our children have, on average, better immunisation rates compared with other areas and we have seen vast improvements in maternal health and tertiary hospital care since this partnership model commenced in 2015.”

In his first visit to Papua New Guinea since the merger of Oil Search and Santos, Mr Gallagher said the care provided in the new Accident and Emergency department will save countless lives and, importantly, has facilities specifically for women.

“The new emergency room has facilities for ensuring privacy for women, particularly those who have been injured through domestic or sexual violence,” Mr Gallagher said.

“One of our core values at Santos is to build a better future and I’m proud we have been able to contribute to this important project for the local community.

“I am personally committed to ensuring Santos leaves a long-lasting, positive legacy in the communities where we operate and this project will ensure Hela Province communities, in particular women and children, have access to better healthcare for decades to come.”

Key areas of the Accident and Emergency department include a triage area to assess patient health conditions with resuscitation bays for critically ill or injured people; acute bays for patients not requiring resuscitation; non-acute bays for patients who require close monitoring after resuscitation or treatment; and a procedure room.

The department also has a plaster room to mend broken bones and an isolation room for the management of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.

Project managed by Rhodes Engineering through Santos’ OSF, the facility was funded through one million Kina from the Hela Provincial Government, eight million Kina from Santos, support from the Australian Government and Santos’ OSF, and a private donation of 500,000 Kina by Hela Provincial Health Authority Board Chairman Peter Botten.