Home | Clinical Practice | Kokoda Trail leads nurse to volunteer in remote PNG villages
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Kokoda Trail leads nurse to volunteer in remote PNG villages

Veteran nurse with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Fiona Dickson is well versed in working in a rural setting.

However, in May this year, when the No Roads Expeditions volunteer program came up, she and her colleague decided to challenge themselves even further.

The pair helped to assess and treat residents of remote coastal villages in Oro Provence, home of the Kokoda Trail.

Dickson hiked the track in 2015 and fell in love with the country. She later discovered the program's volunteer arm.

“I kind of have an internal belief system that you should help out your neighbours if you have the capacity to do so," she said. "I’ve got the capacity and so I thought ‘Well, this is something that I could do’.”

She said that places such as PNG have little political support for health, meaning that medical care isn’t a high priority.

Dickson said the No Roads Expedition aims to educate and empower village health workers in creating sustainable healthcare for PNG communities.

“The only form of transport for these villagers is by water, either by motor boat or canoe,” she said. “The nearest health clinic can be inaccessible during storms or rough seas. We heard how one woman paddled for six hours one way to access the clinic."

We spoke with Dickson about her journey to PNG, the healthcare support needed in the coastal villages she visited and the nursing methods local nurses shared with volunteers.

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