FOHG’s 2021 Year in Review

OHG has had to cancel all visits to Indonesia and has been unable to sponsor our partners to Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic. This has had a significant impact on the delivery of our programs. We have however, continued to maintain relationships with our overseas partners and through collaboration adapt our approach to provide ongoing activities throughout 2021.

Supporting our partners without travel

At the end of 2020 we purchased and delivered an Olympus Microscope Digital Camera LC30 camera to the Professor Johannes Hospital. This has facilitated joint meetings via zoom and allows the pathologists in Australia to review specimens prepared in the laboratory in Kupang allowing discussion of the diagnosis with their colleagues. This has been a great support to the specialists in the major public Hospital in Kupang.

Electronic foetal dopplers

In June 21 FOHG received a request from Ende Hospital on the island of Flores, Indonesia for an electronic foetal doppler. The hospital’s old desk top monitor had ceased to function. They were using a Pinnard's stethoscope without any further means of checking the foetus if they were concerned that something was wrong. The electronic doppler is far more efficient and the mother has the added benefit of hearing her baby’s heart beating. The committee purchased one for the labour ward and one for the antenatal clinic. FOHG also supplied new dopplers for Nagakeo and SoE hospitals as well.

Additions to the infrastructure in SoE

In 2020 we began construction of a Waiting House for expecting mothers and a residence for the Sisters. The year 2021 began with the completion of the Waiting House which can accommodate up to 4 expectant mothers and also the new living quarters for the RVM Sisters.

This was closely followed by the completion of the Wastewater facility, an essential addition so that the hospital can retain its registration.

In the second half of 2021 work began on the Laundry project for Mother Ignacia Hospital. This is an essential addition to the infrastructure of the hospital if it is to retain its hospital status and grow.

Ongoing professional support

In September Dr Aaron Gaekward presented a talk on COVID19 treatments to the Indonesian pharmacy group via video conference.

On Saturday, 18 September a Teleconference Zoom meeting was held between some people from FOHG and the infection control team in Johannes. Titled “Infection Control in the Covid Era – Johannes Hospital, Kupang” it involved 9 participants from the Infection Control team of Johannes Hospital including Dr Ita, the Johannes Hospital Infection Control team and Ibu Yudi, head of the bacteriology lab. Expert guest Ann Whitfield contributed from NZ

The exercise was facilitated with translation and additional input from Pak Nus (Kupang) & Dr Smathi Chong (Perth)

There were extensive discussions ranging from Personal Protective Equipment Use (type of masks and other PPE; re-use of masks, use of industrial grade rather than medical grade), Hand hygiene uptake, Cohorting patients, Use of Rapid Antigen Tests, Negative pressure and isolation wards, Ventilation and reducing viral loads risk in the Covid Wards, Haemodialysis patients, use of nebulisers in non-Covid patients and management of deceased patients with COVID.

Information about Hospital admissions, Staff vaccination & Covid infection was also presented by Dr Ita.

A non-Covid topic discussed was around ESBL infection in the Neonatal intensive care in Johannes Hospital, most of whom are patients referred from other Health centres.

The participants found it very helpful and thanked Ann for her expert advice and time.

In October the first two recipients of the “Love family scholarship” were presented with an acknowledgement of their achievement. The scholarship is in recognition of the past work by Andrew Love over many years and his daughter Elspeth in support of FOHG. This new and exciting initiative provides financial support for two worthy post-secondary students to attend the polytechnic college in Kupang, West Timor and assists them to complete their nursing or laboratory training. One scholarship is for a three-year degree and the other a four-year degree.

In early November Dr Brendon Kennedy presented on behalf of FOHG at the International Training on Tropical Disease Operation Research seminar “How to Conduct Good Research and Publication on Prevention and Control of Tropical Diseases in the Era of COVID-19 Pandemic”. This was facilitated by the Poltekkes in Kupang, and the presentation was on COVID-19: case summaries, complications and vaccination.

Pak Nus provided the translation and did a lot of the preparation work for Dr Brendon Kennedy’s and FOHG’s involvement. The event attracted over 80 attendees for the Zoom presentations, including students and lecturers from the Poltekkes, as well as other local health professionals and representatives from the Department of Health. The event was well received and the speakers’ fee (a custom in Indonesia) was reinvested back into the Poltekkes/education program.

In late November Dr Smathi Chong presented via Zoom on “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance by Increasing Community Understanding of Antibiotics” as part of Antimicrobial Awareness Week.

By December the Laundry project was making excellent progress.

The Mother Ignacia Hospital continues to serve the local community in Soe. Out-patient clinics run by general practitioners and specialists continue to meet the needs of the community and include a dentist.

The hospital reached a milestone of 200 births recently and since inception the hospital has seen 50238 people.

Through the support of Dr David O’Rourke the hospital now employs three salaried doctors and an Administrative Assistant.

As 2021 came to a close the FOHG team was working on a schedule of monthly Zoom presentations for 2022. Possible topics at this stage are

  • Common Skin Conditions
  • Stunting (Antenatal care)
  • Infection Control
  • Medication safety and strokes
  • Introduction to Microbiology
  • TB
  • Blood Borne Infections – staff at risk
  • Mosquito borne infections
  • Before and after the baby is born
  • Obstetric emergencies