​Archbishop Rowan Williams, the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, was welcomed to St Margaret’s Hospital in Papua New Guinea this week to officially open the centre, part funded and supported by the Anglican Board of Mission (ABM).

It is the third time an Archbishop of Canterbury has visited PNG, where 95% of the community identifies as Christian.

The St Margaret’s Health Clinic has served the people of Oro Bay and the surrounding areas for many years, initially with the help of ABM missionaries and volunteers. Over the last few years, ABM has been working with its partner, the Anglican Church of PNG, to refurbish the Clinic.

The aim of the refurbishment has been to upgrade it to a Level 4 hospital, so that it may complement the state-run Popondetta General Hospital, and also contain a specialised facility for the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections as well as an obstetrics section.

ABM’s Executive Director, the Revd John Deane, joined Dr Williams at the opening of the first Anglican hospital in the South Pacific.

Mr Deane said: “It’s been a most inspiring experience to be in PNG and witness Archbishop Williams officially open the new St Margaret’s. There is still some work to be done to make the hospital fully operational and sustainable but most of the hard work is now over and all should be proud of what has been achieved.

“The people of PNG need this hospital to provide them with health care in a country where the general health and sexual health statistics are quite alarming. ABM is proud to support the hospital and work alongside the people and Church in PNG,” he said.

Mr Deane also drew attention to the substantial support that AusAID and Asian Development Bank had provided for the project.

The major remaining work is the provision of more housing so that good staff may be attracted to work at the facility; improved communications through satellite technology so that some medical procedures and administration can be managed from external locations; and improved quality and quantity in the water supply.

Donations to the hospital are still in need. Visit www.abmission.org to support this project.

For more information or photos of the opening, contact: Elizabeth Baker on media@abm.asn.au or 0425-814-134.

The Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) is the national mission agency of the Anglican Church of Australia. For more than 158 years, ABM has been assisting people all over the world to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, provide health and education services, improve agricultural practices and strengthen the Church.