Friday, 29 May 2009

Oceania Nazarene Family
This web site provides all sorts of information on Nazarene missions on the Melanesian and South Pacific Fields.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Nil stock

"Nil stock."  A.k.a. no gat, nada, nothing, finished, the end.  And not an uncommon notification from the pharmacy at Kudjip Hospital.

A majority of the medications that we use to treat our patients come from a national formulary.  Someone somewhere in PNG has decided what should be available to treat the conditions commonly seen here.  Items on the formulary are then (theoretically) supplied by the government to aid posts, health centers, and hospitals across the country.  When the system works, there is a nice variety of medications to choose from.

Unfortunately the distribution is not always timely, and we are frequently out of this or that.  In fact, there is a white board on the ward to update us on what is out of stock.  It may be easier to notify of what we DO have!  For example, a couple of weeks ago we were completely out of ceftriaxone and gentamycin, and had a very limited stock of chloramphenicol.  These are all antibiotics that are used to treat serious infections such as neonatal sepsis and meningitis.  It was quite the challenge to look through our supply and find something that was appropriate to treat patients with these illnesses.  Often we use a 3rd or 4th, or maybe even 5th, choice.  This week the hot items are IV fluids!  We have a reasonable supply of normal saline, but almost nothing with glucose at the moment.  The docs have been adding D50 (sugar water) to the bags of saline, but we have used so much D50 it is now "nil stock" as well.  Ah, the challenges of practicing medicine in a limited resource setting.

On a more positive note, we have a wonderful supply of donated medications and supplies given by people across the U.S. and around the world.  These arrive several times per year in containers sent by Nazarene Hospital Foundation (  The donated items definitely keep us going, especially in lean times!  Thanks to those of you who have given.

Saturday, 23 May 2009


It is not uncommon for PNGians to name their children after someone they know, and sometimes this is one of the missionaries.  There are little Bills and Scotts and Judys running around all over the place here.  There are even two “Doctor Beckys” (yes, first name is “Doctor)... one named after Becky Morsch and one after Becky Wallace.

As of this week, there  are now two Stephanies (besides me)!

The first was one of twins that I delivered a couple of weeks ago.  I had seen the mom in clinic a couple of times and then did her c-section.  She brought the babies back to see me this week... to give me a hand made bilum (woven bag) and tell me about my namesake!

I learned about the Stephanie #2 yesterday.  Remember Robert, the Bible college student?  He and his wife, Kauantz, adopted a baby girl just this week.  They have been married 13 years and don’t have any children of their own.  Some pastor who already had 4 or 5 girls just had another one, so the pastor and his wife gave the baby to Robert and Kauantz.  They brought the baby to the hospital yesterday for a minor illness.  I bumped into them and invited them down to our house for tea.  They asked me if it would be OK to name the baby after me!  Wow, what a joy.