30 May 2011

Shortage of medical staff in Papua New Guinea prompts reconsideration of Cuban doctors

9:53 am on 30 May 2011

A chronic shortage of medical staff in Papua New Guinea has prompted the government to reconsider recruiting doctors from Cuba.

The plan, first raised two years ago after other Pacific states had taken up an offer for help from Cuba, will be aired again at next month's Pacific Islands Health Conference.

The PNG secretary for health, Dr Clement Malau says despite PNG having its own medical school there's still a doctor shortage.

He says funding has been approved in principle for the recruitment of Cuban doctors, but questions about the scheme remain.

"There have been concerns over what roles the doctors would play. Whether they clearly understand our disease patterns, the language, all these sort of factors will need to be considered much more critically before we can move on."

Dr Malau says he hopes a recent pay increase for doctors will attract more expatriate Papua New Guinean medical staff home.