Rita's Story

This article is one from 15 different Papua New Guinean scientists taken from the manuscript of the new Grade 9 Science Outcomes textbook prior to the design and editing processes currently being undertaken at Pearson Education Australia. This is Rita’s story. I hope all the parents, teachers and students read and enjoy it. More scientists’ stories will appear here during the next few months.

This photograph is of Nuerse Rita Asimba weighing a young child in hospital.

Brian Robertson


Dear grade nine students I am Rita Asimba. I come from Oro province in Papua New Guinea. I grew up with my seven siblings on my father’s property, which is about five kilometres from Popondetta town. Like most parents, mine wanted us to get an education so they enrolled us in a town school about an hours walk from our house.

Life was tough as I grew up because both of my parents were unemployed. My father was a bank officer but lost all his educational certificates when our house burnt down therefore he could not get a good job. However he still did his best in doing odd jobs to support us through school. My mother (who has only fifth grade education) learned from a friend how to bake buns and became the main income earner for my family. My parents would wake up as early as 4am and bake buns till daybreak then walk about ten kilometres to the market to sell. The money they earned was little. They sacrificed so much to put us through school.

This gave me the motivation and determination to do well in school so that I could get a job and care for them in return. After year 12 I went to the Pacific Adventist University where I did my nursing training. After completing my nursing training I studied health education at the university of Goroka (EHP). I am now a nurse and a health educator.

I chose to be a nurse primarily because I wanted to care for my parents when they are sick. This is the best thing I could do for them in return for all their hard work and sacrifice in getting me through school and to where I am today. However my job is not limited to caring for my parents only but also the wider community. My job as a nurse involves screening and diagnosing patients and administering their treatment, whether it is oral or intramuscular treatment, intra-venous infusion or inhalation. It also involves attending to emergencies of any sort, delivering babies, assisting doctors with operations and advocating for the patients with the doctors and other health personals regarding their care and treatment. This is to ensure that the patients receive the best care possible and are able to regain their health. These are just the few of the tasks I do.

As a health educator, I educate patients and their families to live a healthy lifestyle. I also give health talks in schools and churches all with the purpose of helping people to live happy healthy lives and avoid diseases. My job is fun and interesting because I get to meet new people everyday, either the patients and their families or newborn babies. I have lots of fun getting out of hospital and going into the community conducting health education programs. And most of all, I get much job satisfaction when I see my patients regain their health and are happy with the care given to them.

Nursing is an important job because it is not only practised in the hospital but anywhere at anytime. With my nursing skills and knowledge I am able to conduct first aid, or deliver babies, or cool sponge a child with a fever and so on. Whether it is in the village, or in the marketplace or school or deep in the jungle at anytime of the day.

Health education is also important because the patients as well as the rest of the community need to be educated on how to prevent diseases and to live a healthy lifestyle so that we can have strong, healthy families, communities and the country as a whole.

In the meantime we need to achieve this by choosing to become nurses, doctors and health educators. But ultimately, my dream is to see a world free from all diseases where we will have no need of hospitals and medical facilities. Everyone will be free from all disease!