As a team leader with the Gulf Provincial Health Authority, Lucy Solomon is at the forefront of educating local communities about COVID-19 and encouraging people to get vaccinated.
Working alongside other frontline health workers, Lucy plans and delivers COVID-19 awareness campaigns and community engagement in Kerema and Kikori districts. Lucy’s efforts are fundamental to ensuring accurate information about health and hygiene practices under the niupela pasin, and the benefits of vaccination, are widely shared and understood.
“I have implemented much of what I learned by identifying problems, especially gaps in awareness of COVID-19, and the different approaches and strategies needed to bridge the gaps,” Lucy explains.
There have been challenges along the way. One key obstacle Lucy and her colleagues have come up against is misinformation.
“Because there is a lot of speculation or negative information about COVID-19 and the vaccines on social media, [many] people fear vaccination and don’t want to be vaccinated.”
To tackle these misconceptions, Lucy has proudly stepped up as a woman leader, working with Papua New Guinean and international partners to make sure evidence-based messages get through to the community.
“With the above challenges I took another approach with our Partners, including [NGO] Touching the Untouchables, the World Health Organization, Oil Search Foundation and Médecins Sans Frontières. We planned and coordinated for the COVID-19 prevention and awareness campaigns to channel down to the community level,” Lucy says.
“It’s a very challenging role as a woman. However, the training gained from the Australia Awards Short Course equipped me with new leadership skills. I am now able to work very hard and be recognised and participate well with the male leaders.”
As the PNG-Australia Partnership’s efforts against COVID-19 continue, Lucy says she is determined to maintain her leadership role and inspire others in Gulf and beyond.
“We all have to work as a team to stop the spread of COVID-19. Let’s all abide by the niupela pasin measures.”