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In a symbolic moment, samples from the first baby born in nearby Keravat taking part in Burnet’s Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (HMHB) research program arrived on the day the Kokopo laboratory was officially opened.
HMHB Team Leader, Pele Melepia delivered the samples to laboratory scientist, Ruth for analysis for STI’s and other diseases.
Provincial Health Advisor, Mr Nicholas Larme officially opened the HMHB laboratory situated in the grounds of St Mary’s Hospital in Kokopo, East New Britain on 25 June in front of local dignitaries, collaborating partners, staff and supporters.
Image: (L-R) Professor Brendan Crabb AC, Mr Nicholas Larme, Mr Chris Adems and Professor Peter Siba at the HMHB lab opening in Kokopo. By Lynton Crabb Photography.
Head of St Mary’s Hospital, Mr Chris Adems and Director of the PNGIMR, Professor Peter Siba joined Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC as part of the official party.
Professor Crabb said the opening of the HMHB laboratory at St Mary’s was an important milestone for all the participating partners.
“(The laboratory) is physically small, but it is a really significant step forward. Research comes in many forms. Often the missing link because of logistics is laboratory capacity,” he said.
“Professor Siba and the PNGIMR have done a magnificent job in Goroka and Madang to build high-class laboratories in PNG, but they are still few and far between in the country.
“There is ample evidence that what you really want is all the elements of research, all together, on the ground in the environment that you are doing the work.
“This laboratory closes the loop in what is possible in East New Britain, led by Burnet. This is not the only laboratory capacity in the Province, but it will help support our Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program.”
Image: Mr Nicholas Larme discusses latest research at the Kokopo lab with Ruth Fidelis, our lab technician.
Professor Crabb acknowledged the HMHB partners including PNGIMR, East New Britain Provincial Government, National Department of Health, The University of Papua New Guinea and The Kirby Institute. He thanked Southern Enterprises for helping to outfit the laboratory.
Samples from mothers and babies are now being tested at the HMHB laboratory from local participating clinical services – St Mary’s Hospital, Nonga General Hospital, Napapar Health Centre, Paparatava Health Centre, Keravat Rural Hospital.
Image: The HMHB team in Kokopo. By Lynton Crabb Photography.