IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 37



02 Remote Locations | Freeport, West Papua
Major Milestone
Freeport, West Papua –
Setting the Industry Standard
Freeport – McMoRan is a US mining and oil company
with operations across the world. The Freeport mine
in West Papua contains the largest gold deposit
known to man, and is also the second largest copper
mine in the world. The raw ore is mined as high as
12,000 feet, and transported as concentrate to the
port facilities in the lowlands; there it is bulk shipped
to processing facilities across the world. Sea, plains,
rainforest, tall mountains, glaciers, deep valleys and
ridges make up the equatorial landscape. The clinic
locations are spread over 70 miles apart and Jakarta
is a six hour flight away.
Before the presence of the Freeport project, there
was no developed medical infrastructure in this
region. As the mine developed so did the need for
medical support for the employees, subcontractors
and the local population. These populations
massively increased when Freeport decided to treble
the output of the mine. In 1992, with the mining town
in the highlands of Tembagapura reaching capacity,
it was decided to build a modern city, Kuala Kencana,
in the lowland area, complete with a golf course and
hotel. It was to house the non-construction and
non-mining population and their families.
Freeport wanted to set up the best possible
healthcare system for its employees and the
local community. Dr Morrison Bethea (Senior
Vice President and Medical Director, Freeport),
a cardiac surgeon in New Orleans and Freeport’s
Medical Advisor, looked at a number of
providers, including ourselves.
Dr Bethea met Arnaud and Pascal in the autumn of
1992. He remembers it well: “They were two very
impressive young Frenchmen. They were dynamic,
enthusiastic and full of energy.” He invited them to
visit the Freeport site and prepare a proposal. As a
Left: Freeport mine site, West Papua, Indonesia, 2006.
result we were appointed to provide site medical
services, starting in January 1993. Dr Bethea also
had a need for public health support, but decided
to hold back on that decision until we proved
ourselves. In Dr Bethea’s words, we very quickly
demonstrated, “an exemplary ability to manage the
site medically.” In April of that year he asked us to
help with the public health programmes as well.
Myles and Arnaud were involved from the start. It
was an enormous challenge – bigger than anything
we had done before. We created a complete
medical infrastructure for the site. Although one
hospital already existed in Tembagapura, it needed
upgrading; we refurbished it to a level of excellence
and took over its management. Today Tembagapura
Hospital has 54 in-patient beds, two operating
theatres, a busy emergency unit, and out-patient
and medical check-up services. The hospital service
is supported by a radiology department with CT
scanning, a pathology lab, a physiotherapy
department and a six-bed high-care unit. Maternity
and psychology services are also available. Medical
staff and specialists are available on-site 24/7.
For the people in the lowlands we set up the Kuala
Kencana Clinic. This has a busy emergency room
with eight beds, an out-patient department and
medical check-up facilities. The clinic is supported
by a radiology department and pathology lab,
capable of carrying out a comprehensive suite
of tests. A physiotherapist and medical staff are
on-site 24/7. In addition we operate seven remote
clinics within the area, staffed 24/7 by paramedics.
We also operate Waa Banti Hospital, a community
hospital for the native population in the highlands;
it has 72 beds and provides radiology, laboratory
and out-patient services.
29

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