The landowner company, Petroleum Resources Kutubu Limited (PRK), has generously donated K1 million to the Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority (SHPHA) to support an initiative to attract and retain qualified medical doctors to continue the delivery of healthcare services within the province. Present at the announcement were PRK Board Chairman Mr. John Kapi Nato, PRK Directors Mr. Mark Sakai and Abraham Murepe, and the CEO of SHPHA, Dr. Joseph Birisi and MRDC General Counsel and Company Secretary Mr. Richard Aupae.

Mr. John Kapi Nato, Chairman of PRK, emphasized the company’s commitment to serving the beneficiary communities, stating, “PRK is a landowner company, a trustee of the landowners resource trusts for the PDL2 landowners from Kutubu and the Pipeline landowners from Kikori in the Gulf Province and the two partners with us on the PRK board, the South Highlands Provincial Government and Hela Provincial Government giving benefits to our beneficiaries. PRK has an obligation to our people in the South Highlands and we also look forward to helping others not only in health but education in the province and project areas”.

Acknowledging the significance of the occasion, Mr. Nato said that Mendi is the capital of the Southern Highlands Province, highlighting previous donations to Mendi General Hospital and reaffirming PRK’s ongoing support for healthcare initiatives. Apart from investing in businesses outside of the project area and the province, the Board of PRK felt that it was only proper that it invests in initiatives which will contribute towards sustaining the provision of basic but necessary health and medical care services to the project area landowners.

Furthermore, Mr. Nato urged the Southern Highlands Provincial Authority to partner with PRK who was working on initiatives to deliver health service infrastructure in the Kutubu and Kikori areas, amongst others, by ensuring the supplying of necessary approvals for the infrastructure, medical resources and more importantly health personnel, particularly in Kutubu, including the Foe and Fasu areas, to ensure the local population has access to reliable health services.

Expressing appreciation for the managing of PRK’s interest by MRDC, Mr. Nato thanked MRDC’s managing director, Mr. Augustine Mano, and the PRK Board for facilitating the donation to SHPHA.

In response, Dr. Joseph Birisi, CEO of the SHPHA, expressed gratitude for PRK’s generous contribution, emphasizing its significance in retaining skilled professionals within the province. He highlighted the challenges faced in retaining healthcare professionals due to prevailing conditions but expressed that the donation would contribute to retaining doctors, midwives, and health extension officers across all five districts of the province. Dr Birisi noted that currently there are a total of 30 doctors and other health professionals serving under the SHPHA with placements for another 20 more across the five (5) districts in the province.

Dr. Birisi said that “because of the challenges we have in the province has been going through, it is not easy keeping our professionals in the province, especially skilled people like doctors. We are so thankful to PRK for coming on board to assist, and this will go towards the doctors’ incentive”.

The main objectives of the donation include attracting and retaining healthcare professionals in the Southern Highlands Province by providing appropriate incentives to secure sustainable medical and health care professionals to serve in the Southern Highlands Province. Additionally, the initiative aims to enhance the human resource capacity of SHPHA, deliver effective and quality healthcare, improve performance across the province, and align with the National Health Plan 2021-2030.

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