3 May 2010

Hospital deaths in PNG go untracked

7:38 pm on 3 May 2010

An anaesthetist working in Papua New Guinea says many people are dying in the nation's hospitals, but doctors are too busy to collect information to find out why.

Doctor Michael Cooper works in two hospitals in Sydney, and has been part of medical development trips to train doctors and see patients in Papua New Guinea.

He says the mortality rate in hospitals there is very high but that there is no national data collection to record the number of deaths, or their causes.

"It doesn't mean he doctors don't discuss problems and things like that, but it's mroe trying to gather data on a provincial or national level that is the harder part. You need specific funding for an exercise like that, and when they're trying very hard to provide ordinary primary health care, those sorts of things tend to fall by the wayside."

Michael Cooper says this lack of record keeping means doctors in Papua New Guinea may not be aware of trends in deaths at hospitals.