A Timely Meeting

A chance encounter at the recent SAPNA Conference in Adelaide [SA Perioperative Nursing Association] was truly fortuitous when Alex Chen of Haines’ Solutions Lab Team met Annys Routley and Sylvia John from The Stables Christian Centre. Why fortuitous? Because now the two groups are working together to provide medical aid to Papua New Guinea!

This was a very timely meeting that’s led to a wonderful collaboration to divert much needed medical supplies to Papua New Guinea – a nation desperate for medical resources. In early 2020 at the start of the pandemic, medical products such as protective bed sheets, linen and mortuary bags were in short supply – caused by the sharp increase in global demand for raw materials to produce personal protective equipment (PPE). Do you remember the panic about PPE, around then?

Time has moved on, and raw materials are more readily available. Now with an excess of stock – and appalled at the idea of sending useful equipment to landfill – we started brainstorming for possible solutions. Because of their size, Mortuary Bags can be repurposed readily into other useful products. But with manufacturing still constrained, we had to think of new ways to get these products to where they would be most useful. With the rise of new Covid variants complicating the situation in the region, our options seemed limited.

The Chance to Do Good

Fortune really does favour the prepared mind. Because just as we were struggling to find answers – we met the passionate team of people from The Stables Christian Centre (just 7 minutes’ drive from Haines head office), and it didn’t take long to discover we have overlapping goals. They are wildly enthusiastic about the opportunity to take the medical products to Papua New Guinea, where they are urgently needed! Consequently, several weeks ago, eight pallets of goods were transported to The Stables Christian Centre, with more to follow when the Centre is closer to shipping the next container to Papua New Guinea.


Lynne and Sonny Hoet – from The Stables Christian Church describe the situation:

"Papua New Guinea is in the grip of a Covid medical crisis, putting further strain on an already broken medical system. We are thrilled with the opportunity to send this equipment which has been so generously donated by Haines Medical.

Much needed in PNG, where it can be repurposed as mats for birthing women and cover sheets for patient beds.

Distribution through the towns, villages and rural areas is arranged by a group of passionate people in PNG, coordinated by Rumginae Rural Hospital, which is in the most remote area of Papua New Guinea, near Fly River in Western Province.

It has ONE doctor serving a large community.

We would like to send a container of donated medical goods as soon as possible. It usually takes us around 12 months to raise the funds, but we want to send a container ASAP because the situation is desperately urgent. We are so greatly appreciative of any help you can offer.

If this story touches your heart, please consider donating and either visit My Cause or donate via the The Stables Christian Centre bank account.”

Sadly, this was not the only story to emerge. A couple of weeks ago, someone published a photo of the mortuary bags on social media, complete with speculations about ‘churches stockpiling body bags’.

Lynne and Sonny Hoet were naturally distressed by this and they were significantly derailed from the important work they need, responding to this misinformation that had been published and shared online.

But you can help turn this situation around 180° — to ensure the Hoet’s good deeds are supported. Please share the real story and help them raise the much needed funds


L-R The Stables Christian Centre's Sonny & Lynne Hoet with Haines Medical Australia's Laura de Lacy

Top: The Stables Christian Centre's Op Shop. Middle: Donated goods from Haines Medical Australia. Bottom: A range of donated goods awaiting shipment to Papua New Guinea.


What Can You Do to Help?

After visiting Lynne and Sonny Hoet at The Stables, being greeted by their exquisite peacocks, and meeting their hard-working volunteers working in sheds full of medical products and furniture waiting to be shipped offshore, we set about helping them build a web page to raise funds, to get this equipment to Papua New Guinea ASAP to those who desperately need it now!

The Stables Christian Centre is a registered Australian charity but not a registered international charity. Therefore, the international projects they support (sending medical aid and furniture) rely solely on donations from the public to cover shipping costs. In our minds, this makes the medical supplies for the Papua New Guinea initiative an even more remarkable quest.

Since learning of this, we helped The Stables set up a fundraising page (My Cause) so we and others could help raise the funds needed to ship the next container of medical supplies to Papua New Guinea ASAP.



Haines regularly supports medical professionals who travel to developing countries as part of an aid mission. We are pleased to assist them with PPE for themselves and medical supplies to help deliver healthcare in times of extreme stress and hardship.

Right now, Haines is working with The Stables Christian Centre to pack and send a range of medical supplies and furniture to Papua New Guinea who urgently need these medical products to assist with the impact of Covid-19, obstetrics, theatre and palliative care.

Haines Medical Australia's Laura de Lacy and Sally Day with The Stables Christian Centre's Lynn and Sonny Hoet

L-R Haines Medical Australia's Laura de Lacy and Sally Day with The Stables Christian Centre's Lynne and Sonny Hoet

Dr receiving a wheelchair in the last container

Unpacking goods for the hospital

A gift that keeps giving – when we buy and send a container on medical products that container gets turned into housing by the dedicated volunteers.

Stories of the past Haines International Medical Aid Projects

  • Vietnam - Volunteer Nurses teach Vietnamese hospital staff to use SlipperySally Slide Sheets
  • Haiti - SlipperySally Slide Sheets make a difference in Haiti
  • Solomon Islands - Victorian occupational therapists use donated SlipperySally's slide sheets to assist the Solomon Island's National Referral Hospital
  • Suva - SlipperySally Slide Sheets benefits Home of Compassion in Suva
  • Bali - Introduction of Slippery Sally Slide Sheets to Sanglah General Hospital, Denpasar, Bali

• Volunteer nurses teach Vietnamese hospital staff to use SlipperySally slide sheets


The VIC Health Education Team is located in Melbourne, Australia. The Team began by implementing a Nurse Conference in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in 2003. The continuation of the Conferences has evolved to include several other health care professions. All Team members fund their own visit costs. Currently, the Health Education Team engages with eight major hospitals in HCMC, with each hospital having a specialty health care interest relationship with the Team. In contrast to hospitals in Australia, Vietnamese hospitals are huge. Many have in excess of 1000 beds. For example, Cho Ray has 1700 beds with approximately 3000 patients sharing those beds. One of the maternity hospitals had 51,000 births last year (the Royal Women's’ Hospital in Melbourne had 6,000).

January 23rd, 2010 saw 43 Victorian Health Education Team members begin their 2 week program in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The program included doing working with the nurses, providing lectures and seminars at 8 different hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City.

23 team members of the 43 strong team, left together from Melbourne, while other team members had made their own arrangements to include other travel. On arrival at the Tan Son Nhat airport we were surprised at how quickly we passed through passport control to collect all our baggage (approximately 720kg of it)! The rest of the team came in under their own arrangements, either prior to our arrival, or soon after.

The team took 100 Slippery Sally’s with them and they were used to top up the hospitals existing slide sheet supplies (you can never have too many!). The photo shows training initially and then a lady being moved post caesarean section with a slide sheet... with quick to adapt staff in Vietnam it was described as see one transfer, do one transfer, teach one transfer and the staff were off using the slide sheets in the recovery room where they do 100 caesarean sections per day.

It is worth noting that team members not only donate their own time but fund their own visit costs – a great contribution.

If you are interested in participating in these great experiences, please email or their website is www.avvrg.org.au

SlipperySally Slide Sheets make a difference in Haiti


“Whilst they had been away, our new unit was finished and the patients were moved by stretcher to their new hospital beds with proper hospital mattresses, bedside lockers, air conditioning, freshly painted walls and a new floor! I had taken photos of the new ward and had shown the families and patients their new 'home’ and gave them the opportunity to choose their beds. Eve wanted to be close to the door and I asked her to choose the beds for her friends. There was so much excitement amongst the families and staff during the move! Big smiles and laughter! Everyone felt truly energized. The visiting teams of doctors just could not believe it! They were so complimentary about the unit and many said it was like walking into a western ward again and in complete contrast to the Haitian medical environment. All I can say is that a lot of work was involved by an amazing team of people, both Haitian and English (here and in the UK), and it really is lovely to see all our efforts put into practice! It genuinely is a good feeling to know that we are making a difference here. Of course, there are teething problems to anything new and we have certainly had them. There will be more in the future, but at the end of the day, everyone is trying to do their best - given the circumstances.

We have been admitting new patients as the doctors at Milo were keen to discharge theirs because of the worryingly and rapidly increasing wound infection rate there; it is now over 50%. The surgeons there are having to amputate more and more limbs because the external fixations to arms and legs have become grossly infected and gangrenous. What a horrible process for everyone and another issue that the Haitian people will need to accept and address. I have never been in a war zone, but I guess this must be pretty close. With the rainy season on its way, increasingly humid high temperatures, no air conditioning, beds crammed together, minimal if any running water (especially in the field hospital tents) and flies, the infection rate is bound to be high. So our brand spanking new unit with all its amenities and un-cramped conditions was like a gift from God!

To help Fi, Haines Medical donated 100 Slippery Sally slide sheets which at least will make some of the manual handling tasks a little easier. Keep up the great work Fi!

Victorian occupational therapists use donated SlipperySally's slide sheets to assist the Solomon Island's National Referral Hospital


In 2008, Ana and Larna, two occupational therapists from Victoria donated their own time to assist the National Referral Hospital in Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

They provided in-services in manual handling and pressure care management.

They had no slide sheets or developed manual handling guidelines so with some free Slippery Sally’s they were able to greatly assist this hospital’s manual handling practice.

SlipperySally Slide Sheets benefits Home of Compassion in Suva


The products you sent to the Home of Compassion have been used far more than within in-services, the slide sheets have been utilized within care management of residents requiring assistance with repositioning.

I would like to thank you again for your generous donations, that has already made a considerable beneficial change to both staff and residents at the Home of Compassion in Suva.

Introduction of SlipperySally Slide Sheets to Sanglah General Hospital, Denpasar, Bali

After the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005, the Australian Government invested significant funds and resources trying to help raise the standards of care within the hospital.

In recent years a number of Australian nurses have been funded by AusAID to work in the new units and to train the local staff. In 2008, AusAID decided not to continue funding any further Australian nurses, so in 2009 support was gained through Australian Volunteers International (AVI) to assist the rest of hospital.

A position of Nurse Educator was created for two years commencing September 2009, this is the role I am currently working in. I am an Australian Registered Nurse employed through Australian Volunteers International. My job is to work with nurses in the hospital to identify areas for improvement, then to develop appropriate educational programs and clinical practices to assist in improving the quality of care. I spent my first few weeks doing an evaluation of clinical care and am now implementing a number of improvement projects.

This project was aimed at improving the safety of staff and patients through the introduction of Slippery Sally Sheets for moving patients.

Within Indonesia there is very low awareness of the risks associated with manual handling and also no systematic way of measuring the adverse consequences to both nurses and patients of poor manual handling practices. Nevertheless, it is clear from current practices that both nurses and patients are regularly being placed at risk of injury through the manual handling practices currently in place. Nurses had received very little training previously about how to lift and move patients safely and over 40% of nursing staff complained of intermittent low back pain. We decided that we needed to introduce an integrated educational program to assist nurses to better manage moving patients in bed and how to take care of their backs at work. We then approached Rotary in Nuhlunbuy in the Northern Territory to ask them if they would be willing to donate some Slippery Sally sheets to the hospital.

In April of 2010 the Rotary Club of Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory generously purchased 400 meters of Slippery Sally sheets to be donated to Sanglah hospital. There was a lot excitement about this purchase, and we waited keenly for the delivery of the sheets. Unfortunately, none of us had understood the regulations involved in importing the sheets to Indonesia. Suffice to say we ended up involving people at many levels of the Government to no avail. In the end Tim Harkness of Haines Medical Australia came to our rescue and we were able to finally get the sheets into the country (some 5 months after the initial donation!).

Initially we had planned to introduce the sheets into the poor people’s division of the hospital, but thanks to receiving 400 metres of the sheets we have been able to share them across all wards and divisions of the hospital. For many nurses this is the first training that they have received in manual handling, so we have introduced an integrated approach which gives them education about how to care for their back as well as how to lift correctly and to use the sheets. We have had a lot of fun doing this as the attached photos show.

In preparation for the introduction of the sheets we carried out some research into nurses’ levels of fatigue at the end of a shift and have found, since the introduction of the sheets the nurse’s level of fatigue has fallen by 33%. In Australia we take many of these tools that assist us in our work for granted, but in somewhere like Indonesia where they have never had anything like this, these sheets have literally changed the lives of both nurses and their patients. The use of the sheets has been adopted with great enthusiasm and little difficulty. So, from the nurses and patients at Sanglah Hospital we’d like to say a big thank you to both Rotary Nhulunbuy and Haines Medical for persisting when things got tough!

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