27 trainees complete HATP
Twenty-seven trainees who completed the initial six months of Health Assistant Training Program (HATP) were recognized in a ceremony held at the Ming’s Hall in Palasia Hotel on April 18.
The event was graced by the presence of family and friends of the trainees as well as distinguished guests including Reklai Raphael B. Ngirmang, Airai State Delegate Madame Victoria Kanai, Former Republic of Palau Vice President and Minister of Health Sandra S. Pierantozzi, Ngaraard State Governor Ben Iskawa, Palau Community College (PCC) President Patrick U. Tellei, EdD, and Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts.
The 27 trainees that were recognized during the ceremony are Geggie Baiei, Vega Lyra Dilkolt Bedasto, Yvonne Demei, Dessmarie Dilutaoch, Desarae Ingerkelii, Elway Lewis, Susan Mereb, Sifumi Midar, Feverlynn Ngiramengior, Courtney Ngirchoimei, Sheliza Ngirturong, Desiree Ngirusong, Mesreng Noel, Haygan Ongrung, Brighton Pedro, Timothy Petrus, Suzette Rechebong, Ilona Remeliik, Samantha Rengulbai, Alana Renguul, Jelani Renguul, Beauriel Ruluked, Delanah Sakuma, Shilwin Singeru, Sasha Takada, Angeline Tiningdad, and Leinice K. Watanabe.
The Certificate of Recognition for Attendance & Perseverance was awarded to Ms. Watanabe and the Certificate of Recognition for Academic Excellence was awarded to Mr. Elway O. Lewis.
Minister of Health Dr. Roberts congratulated all the participants on completing the first half of the program. He spoke about the necessity of promoting healthcare careers because the people of Palau should be responsible for the community’s well-being.
Dr. Roberts also recognized the program as a door of opportunity for Palau’s people. Not many individuals have the means for continuing their education after high school, especially in the field of medicine or health. The Health Assistant Training Program provides interested individuals with the opportunity of joining the medical field without the struggle of securing financial support.
Keynote Speaker for the ceremony was Ms. Clarette Matlab, the Chief of Ancillary Services and Pharmacist at the Ministry of Health.
Ms. Matlab began her career in the medical field as a pink apron volunteer for the Didil Belau Program. Personal matters had kept her from completing her medical studies immediately after high school.
Fortunately, the Health Assistant Program that was established a few years later provided her with the opportunity to continue her medical studies and complete her studies in the field of nursing. Ms. Matlab was a Registered Nurse at the Belau National Hospital then, after returning to school, she became a certified pharmacist.
In her speech, Ms. Matlab advised the health assistants to remember four important character traits as they continued on their journey: perseverance (ducherreng), persistence (telekangel), resilience (diak le mesemesim), and faith (klaumerang). In continuing on the path to becoming health assistants, the participants need to recognize that never giving up was an essential part of success. They must be willing to try even when they fail. Difficulties are attached to life choices, but being steadfast and knowing clearly in which direction to venture will get you from point A to point B. Lastly, Ms. Matlab advised the trainees to believe in their abilities and have faith in God as He is an essential source of support should struggles come their way.
Other speakers were also given the opportunity to congratulate the trainees. HATP Instructor Ms. Johana Ngiruchelbad gave a brief explanation about the program, identified challenges that were faced, and recognized the key persons whose support made it all possible. Reklai Raphael B. Ngirmang expressed his pride in witnessing the group of young Palauans who are willing to take on a difficult career. He acknowledged that being a health assistant comes with a fair share of frustrations & difficulties. However, he expressed how proud he was that young Palauans are carrying on the cultural practice of caring for the community, especially the elders. He emphasized on the necessity of their skills as health assistants and praised their dedication.
PCC President Dr. Tellei expressed the willingness of the college to continue providing assistance in whatever way possible. As one of the key supporters of the program, the college provided the facilities and learning equipment needed for the program. Delegate Kanai spoke on behalf of her colleagues from the Tenth Olbiil Era Kelulau (10th OEK). After congratulating the trainees, she expressed support for the program from the 10th OEK and urged each trainee to continue on to the next phase.
The Health Assistant Training Program was initiated in October of last year. Divided into two (2) parts, the first six months of the program involved classroom-based learning about essential basic health subjects (e.g., anatomy & physiology and nutrition). The trainees were also required to participate in practical application training through clinical rotations at the Belau National Hospital. Instructors for the program were Ms. Johana Ngiruchelbad and Ms. Henrietta Merei. Ms. Ngiruchelbad and Ms. Merei are retired nurses with years of experience working in Palau’s healthcare system.
The second part of the program offers the trainees a choice between continuing their medical studies at a learning institution, such as Palau Community College, or joining the medical work force at the Ministry of Health. Of the 27 trainees who completed the program, 11 will continue their education at Palau Community College and 16 will join the Ministry of Health’S workforce.
Special recognition is given to Palau Community College (PCC), JNP Services, and the Ministry of Health. Through their collaborative efforts and support, the Health Assistant Training Program was made possible. Recognition and thanks are also given to the Tenth Olbiil Era Kelulau for its support of the program’s continuation. (PR)