Burnet farewells Dr Stenard Hiasihri

Burnet Institute

16 August, 2022

Dr Stenard Hiasihri - a key member of Burnet Institute’s Papua New Guinea (PNG) leadership team - is leaving the Institute later this month to take up a senior role with the New Ireland Provincial Health Authority.

Dr Hiasihri is Burnet’s Chief Public Health Officer in PNG, and Team Leader of the Fleming Fund Country Grant for PNG, which is aiming to help tackle antimicrobial resistance in low- and middle-income countries.

Over the years, he’s worked in other roles including Acting PNG Country Director for Burnet and Program Manager TB/HIV for The Global Fund.

“Dr Stenard has been instrumental to the growth of Burnet in PNG through his involvement in these various portfolios,” said Burnet’s PNG Country Director, Dr Kudakwashe Chani.

Burnet’s Deputy Program Director Health Security, Associate Professor Suman Majumdar, has had the privilege of working with Dr Hiasihri since they met in Port Moresby in April 2014.

“Stenard and I first worked together to address the escalating situation with MDR-TB (multidrug-resistant tuberculosis) in Western Province, which led to the emergency response led by the PNG government,” he said.

“His leadership, strategic thinking, exceptional work ethic and ability to develop community, government and organisational partnerships have contributed to significant improvements in the TB program and to the health of the community in Daru, Western Province.

“This has been a major success story in public health in PNG with some of the best treatment success rates for MDR-TB in the world delivered through a community-based model of care and using data and research to inform decision-making.”

Associate Professor Majumdar said it has been one of the highlights of his career to have developed both a strong working collaboration and close friendship with Dr Hiasihri.

“It has been a humbling experience and we have both learned so much from each other,” he said.

“I wish Stenard, Theresa and their young family all the best for the future. As Stenard often reminds me, we live in a global village, our paths will cross again.”

Image: Dr Hiasihri in the MDR-TB ward at Daru General Hospital in 2015 with courses of the novel MDR-TB treatment, bedaquiline, which was first implemented in PNG in Daru.

East New Britain Research Team leader Pele Melepia said Dr Hiasihri is a true leader with a humble personality.

“He listens with an open mind and his wisdom helps us to make better constructive decisions. He mentored me in such a way that I was able to see from a leader’s eye,” Ms Melepia said.

“One of his statements to me is: ‘When you are faced with a sudden challenge that pushes you to the edge, do not quickly act or talk but instead take a walk and sleep on it and the next day you will be able to see a clear path and understand the reason why it happened. That will avoid you from all the complications of conflict.’”

Image: Associate Professor Majumdar, Dr Hiasihri and District TB Coordinator Robinson Raphael outside their TB team office at Daru General Hospital.

Ms Melepia said Dr Hiasihri’s leadership is unique in the sense that he’s passionate about helping others grow in the workplace.

“His approach within the Burnet office and partners are very successful. That’s how our partnership with the Provincial Health Authority has become stronger and that was through the partnership work of Dr Stenard while here in Kokopo,” she said.

“He helped set us up with the Provincial Health Authority and contributed to the success of the completion of the projects especially Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.”

Fleming Fund Country Grant Coordinator, Kaba Ula said Dr Hiasihri had been instrumental in establishing the Fleming Fund Country Grant Project in PNG, particularly with his knowledge of the health system and its governance.

“He has this passion for healthcare in PNG, which will be utilised to drive change in the new opportunity that has opened up for him,” Ms Ula said.

Dr Hiasihri has been offered the position of Chief Executive Officer of the New Ireland Provincial Health Authority (NIPHA).

Image: Dr Hiasihri with Burnet Senior Principal Research Fellow Professor Steve Graham in Daru for World TB Day 2016.

“While I am sad Dr Stenard is leaving Burnet, I am also very excited for this huge opportunity for him and his family,” Dr Chani said.

“He will continue contributing to improving the health of Papua New Guineans, and we look forward to continuing working with Dr Stenard in this new role.”

Burnet warmly congratulates Dr Hiasihri on his new appointment.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Associate Professor Suman Majumdar

Deputy Program Director, Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness; Co-head, Tuberculosis Elimination & Implementation Science; Principal Research Fellow


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