It has been four years since Petra Goviro Suma completed the Australia Awards Short Course in Leadership and Management.  Her studies have helped her improve the nursing and community health worker training facilities in her province, Oro, PNG.

Petra completed the leadership and management short course at Federation Training in Warragul, Victoria. She completed the course in 2015 along with 16 fellow managers and lecturers from Papua New Guinea.

Petra applied for the short course as she ‘wanted to do something big for the only health training institution in Oro Province…she had a desire to rebuild the current school and improve its training facilities and school infrastructure to cater for both community health worker and nursing training programs.

Petra says, “The subject on project proposal and budgeting provided by the Federation Training through Australia Awards helped me plan for a major project.  A year later, funding was made available’. A change that she has succeeded in planning.

In 2019, K4 million of national funding was approved for the first phase of major infrastructure development for St Margaret’s Community Health Worker School in Popondetta.

Petra was responsible for planning with the help of project designers and consultants in 2017, and through consultation with department heads of the National Planning, Community Development and National Department of Health.

Petra attributes her positive outcomes to networking. ‘The course enabled me to network with various stakeholders at all levels and be confident in communicating effectively with the support of others who guided the way’ she says.

She plans to expand that network – as she completes a Master of Public Health and Master of Business Administration at James Cook University in Townsville.

As a 2019 recipient of an Australia Awards Scholarship, Petra plans to use her studies to continue improving health in her community.

‘I know that there is more to do when helping people understand what health all is about. This will be done by developing programs and involving Community Health Workers in delivering health care to the unreached’ she says.

Upon her return, Petra says she hopes ‘to upgrade Oro’s current community health worker training school from a certificate to diploma program.’ A change that will contribute to Papua New Guinea a healthier and more prosperous nation.

The Australia Awards Short Course Awards are tailored to develop knowledge and skills, address priority human resource development areas and build partnerships and linkages between Australian organisations and partner organisations in developing countries.