By Lillian Sopera Keneqa – EMTV News, Port Mpresby
When in the midst of an emergency, seeing the ‘green angels’ arriving on scene gives hope to many people. Those who have watched the reality show, Green Angels, know how important the work of St. John Ambulance is in the city and Central Province.
St John CEO, Commissioner Matthew Cannon, said “My staff take their jobs very seriously, and that our patients are at the heart of why we wake up every day to save lives!”
Corporate sponsors, government personnel, members of the diplomatic corps, and individuals showed up in numbers to support the cause of St. John Ambulance on Saturday evening. The event aimed at meeting the increasing demands placed on the ambulance service, and also to help St. John with its plans to move to other centres through PNG apart from NCD and Central Province.
Commissioner Cannon said, “…East New Britain, Morobe are priorities for this year. And into the early parts of next year… that will be followed by the highlands centers, the following year.”
He added, “It’s no easy task but by the end of it, we aim to have the most comprehensive list of health centers, hospitals and of course, ambulances.”
This year marks 62 years of the St. John Ambulance operations within the country since its establishment in PNG communities in 1957.
There has been a significant step forward in the level of pre-hospital care for PNG including the level of capability through the St. John team and the level of governance within the organisation.
National St. John Council Chair, Madame Jean Kekedo, said, “ The St. John has set up new directions, to ensure its pre-hospital care both ambulance service first aid education is available to Papua New Guineans, and will be available to many more in the future.”
St. John Ambulance has responded to over 3000 more calls for help this year than 2017. This is due to an increase in fleet capacity, upgrade in ambulance quality, improved technology, and up-skilling of the team to save lives.
Governor General, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, in commending St. John staff said, “We are grateful for your contributions for the health of this country… and the future of St. John continuing its massive work.”
With many provinces looking to St. John services, the team has an aggressive roll-out plan to establish their presence in other centres in the coming years.