Papua New Guinea - Interplast

Papua New Guinea

Country Information

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has the largest population in the Pacific – more than 7.6 million spread out over more than 150 islands. Life expectancy at birth is 65 for females and 61 for males (WHO, 2015), and the infant mortality rate is 41 per 1000 live births. While significant improvements in some health indicators have taken place over the past 10 years, access to specialist services are still extremely restricted due to lack of trained personnel, and hampered by challenging terrain and poor infrastructure.

Program History

Interplast has been working in Papua New Guinea (PNG) since 1985, with a focus on surgical service and plastic and reconstructive surgical training. Training and surgical teams have included visits to Port Moresby, Mt Hagen, Madang, Alotau, Wewak, Rabaul, Bougainville and Lae.

Specialist training is a long-term undertaking in PNG and Interplast is assisting to fill the shortage of specialist services by sending plastic and reconstructive surgery teams to assist with the overwhelming caseload of patients and to train local health practitioners in PNG.

Most local surgeons work as general surgeons with a small number specialising.

While there has been some progress towards developing local capacity to provide reconstructive plastic surgery services in recent years, with a population of over 7.6 million, PNG is still a long way from having the local capacity to meet the demands of the large numbers of patients that continue to be identified for treatment. Progress is slow, as currently just one surgeon is selected at a time to train in head and neck/plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Interplast programs in PNG have also included specific training in early burns management, nursing, and physiotherapy and pain management.

Current Programs

In the 2018/19 financial year, Interplast plans to deliver a number of programs in PNG, including multiple surgical mentoring and nurse education activities in Port Moresby and Madang, as well as surgical programs to various provincial areas, where local need is identified, and funding is available. Training programs will include a substantial focus on supporting PNG’s plastic surgery trainee to access additional education and clinical skills activities, to support the development of this specialty in PNG.

For more details, keep an eye on our Upcoming Programs, or get in touch with us!

 

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