Matthew Omena, is a Senior Scientific Officer at the Institute of Medical Research in the Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea. A recipient of the Australia Awards Scholarship, Matthew is breaking medical barriers with his academic achievements from the James Cook University.
Matthew is a two time recipient of the Australia Awards Scholarship. He completed his undergraduate study at the Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales (1991- 2001).
Prior to that, Matthew has been conducting research with the Medical Research Institute for over 22 years as a lab technician. Working with the knowledge of the country’s increasing health problems, Matthew aspired to formulate ways of prevention and cure.
His second opportunity for studies came in 2010 where he completed a Masters in Biomedical Science degree at the James Cook University.
Matthew recalls, “I had a very challenging time being an older student among younger students but I sought advice from student services and talked to other students and course supervisors as well as people dealing with specific areas in IT and library-use to grasp difficult concepts”.
Matthew has contributed immensely to the health sector in PNG and his research is breaking barriers to health risks among infants and children, and finding solutions for prevention against diseases affecting Papua New Guineans.
“Since I got back, I had hands on experience and am more confident in writing my research proposal to seek funding. This experience has enabled me to do a project proposal for a virus called entro-virus 21 which causes meningitis in small children.
“I am trying to carry out an investigation to see if the virus that causes meningitis is present in infants and how it can be prevented. I feel confident that I can contribute to prevention methods and develop mechanisms to prevent the infection from affecting our children in the future,” says Matthew.
Matthew’s studies abroad had prepared him well to do more than awareness and research. It had prompted him to establish projects and the discovery of prevention methods to a better and healthier future for children.
Matthew would like to thank the Australian Government for the opportunity given to him and others to realizing their dreams.
After going through a challenging study experience, Matthew says, “It is better to be focused in your studies, it is a very competitive world out there and it is a privilege. You must achieve what you have set out to achieve, or it is not worth it”
“…. I am trying to carry out an investigation to see if the virus that causes meningitis is present in infants and how it can be prevented. I feel confident that I can contribute to prevention methods and develop mechanisms to prevent the infection from affecting our children in the future.”