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Accident and emergency health services at the Hela Provincial Hospital have been boosted with US$1M funding from Santos Limited and US$700,000 from Oil Search Foundation provided to the Hela Provincial Health Authority (PHA).

A ground breaking ceremony was held in Tari to mark the construction of a high priority Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department for the hospital.

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Gallagher said helping fund the hospital’s A&E Department underlined the company’s commitment to investing in PNG. “Santos has been investing in PNG since the 1980s and it’s an important growth region for our future. We’re proud to work with our valued partner Oil Search to develop critical infrastructure for the communities of the Hela region,” Mr Gallagher said. “It’s great to be part of an initiative that will save lives in the communities where we operate and give the people of Hela greatly improved emergency health services.”

Hela PHA Chair and Oil Search Managing Director, Peter Botten welcomed the support from Santos saying it was “always a privilege to be working with partners who shared similar development visions for the people of Hela and Papua New Guinea.”

Currently the hospital does not have a facility that can manage the acute care of emergency patients.

“When the Hela PHA Board was appointed in November 2015 we made a commitment to make this hospital one of the best in PNG. I’m proud to say that eighteen months on we are continually pushing ourselves to achieve more,” said Botten. “And we’ve been able to do this because we have a hardworking board, staff and management team and we also have strong partnerships that can help us achieve our vision.”

Under the agreement the new A&E facility is expected to begin operations by mid-2018 on a 24-hour basis and provide for the initial treatment of a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries in both adults and children.

Key areas of the facility include a triage area to assess patients according to their needs. It will also include resuscitation bays for the critically ill or injured, acute bays for patients not requiring resuscitation, non-acute bays for patients who require close monitoring after resuscitation or treatment, a procedure room, a plaster room for fracture stabilization and an isolation room for the management of infectious diseases or privacy for survivors of domestic or sexual violence.