The Porgera Gold Mine in Enga, has not made or sold gold in more than seven months, but it continues to support health services in Porgera District.
This time, Mine operator Barrick (Niugini) Limited (“BNL”) is accommodating nursing students from the Enga College of Nursing in Sopas, Wabag, who are currently on a four-week clinical practice at the Porgera District Hospital.
The Hospital’s General Surgeon and Acting Medical Superintendent Dr Jerry Hoga had requested for the accommodation.
The 10 final year students, accompanied by their Instructor Jerick Laganson, the College’s Clinical Coordinator Sister (Sr) Grace Job, arrived at Paiam on 7 January.
They were received by a team from the Mine, and the Hospital’s Acting Matron Sr Miriam Kikil.
BNL Manager for Community Land Access Agreements Trevor Liversidge, gave the keys for three Company houses, to Sr Kikil.
Sr Kikil said the Hospital has had staffing issues, and so the arrival of the students brought short term relief for the Hospital staff.
“Our staff strength is down so we asked the students of Enga College of Nursing to come and support us.
“We have no accommodation to accommodate the students coming to help Porgera valley.
“But we see that you people gave us three houses to accommodate the students from the Enga College of Nursing,” a very appreciative Sr Kikil said.
“We say thank you for everything you have done for us. There is nothing we will give in return, but because of the valley…you think of the people of Porgera valley, there would have been thousands of deaths due to mine closure, but you are still here helping us.
“Now that the students are here, they will help us in a big way so we can work day and night. If we were a small group we wouldn’t fully perform our duties, but they are here and we feel satisfied to be able to go home and rest,” she said.
At the Hospital, the students were placed in different areas to apply their clinical theoretical learnings into the clinical setup.
“We are really happy that most of the staffs here are actually helping the students on the ground,” Mr Laganson said.
“Without you guys, we’ll not be…have a good hand here. So thank you very much for this accommodation as well as the practice of clinical application into the hospital as well, thank you so much,” he said.
According to Sr Job, the College was established in 2013, offering diploma and degree programs in General Nursing.
The first intake in 2014 graduated in 2017, and to date there had been four graduations. The Bachelor in Nursing program only started last year.
To date, more than 105 students have passed through the College, with new intakes notably increasing every year.