Provider Initiated Counselling and Testing (PICT) training is very important to health workers around the country as it allows the health worker to provide counselling and testing to any patient suspected of having HIV and AIDS, according to Alice Marai of the National Department of Health.
Mrs. Marai said this during a PICT training in Kiunga, Western Province, conducted by the Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) facilitated Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) – Middle and South Fly Health Program (CMSFHP) and North Fly Health Services Development Program (NFHSDP), in partnership with the National Department of Health’s National HIV AIDS Training Unit (NHATU), Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) and the North Fly District AIDS Council.
Mrs. Marai and Rose Robin from the NHATU were in Kiunga during April to facilitate the PICT training for more than 20 participants from the North, Middle and South Fly Districts.
Mrs. Marai said health workers must be fully equipped when they deal with suspected or confirmed cases of HIV and AIDS.
She also said PICT is like Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing (VCCT), however, the advantage is that PICT allows the worker to initiate testing and provide counselling and treatment too.
CMSFHP Special Workforce Trainer, Oscar Karatu challenged the participants to implement what they have been taught during the training.
“It is important that you implement what you have learned during this training. You have been certified and are now able to carry out PICT in your health facilities,” Karatu expressed.
On the opening of the training NFHSDP Program Manager, Samson Kove, said HIV and AIDS is still a serious health issue in PNG and with TB now spreading it is vital for such trainings to occur.
The same sentiments were expressed by CMSFHP Program Manager, Kelly Kewa, during the certificate presentation, which ended the two week training.
“It is very important for us to have training such as the PICT on a regular basis so we are up to date with the new trends and information in certain diseases like HIV and AIDS and others that we deal with,” Mr. Kewa said.
Out of the 20 participants ranging from Community Health Workers, Nurses, Midwives and Health Extension Officers, 3 participants were from the CMSFHP and NFHSDP.
NFHSDP’s Area Wide Officer, Grace Lipen, expressed gratitude for the training saying she learned a lot and the training was very informative.
“The PICT training has given us an in-depth knowledge of what HIV and AIDS is and its phases and with the laboratory practical we are now able to carry out testing on site. It was great and I thank CMSFHP, NFHSDP and the NDoH for selecting me to be part of this training,” she stated.
Dusi Dowa, who is the CHW for Rumginae Rural Hospital, also noted that it was insightful training.
“On behalf of my colleagues from health facilities in the North, Middle and South Fly we say thank you to NDoH, North Fly District Health, CMSFHP and NFHSDP for giving us not only book based training but also practical sessions,” Dowa added.