PNG unable to address doctor shortages

3:44 pm on 26 May 2015

Papua New Guinea doctors say the country's inability to address staff shortages has reached critical levels with recent figures showing three to six million people have no access to medical care.

The President of the PNG Society for Rural and Remote Health is calling for an immediate international intervention to improve the situation.

Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea.

Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ

Dr David Mills says what he finds alarming is that the terrible situation has gone on for so long that people in rural areas have become resigned to their fate.

" The logistics are so difficult, getting out to these places and the numbers of staff on the ground are so few at the moment that it may well be that for some years we are going to need outside help to try and address this issue. So a difficult issue, probably a bit of a humbling one for us as a country but I think that is the sort of pill we will need to swallow if we are going to make any progress."

Dr Mills says 95 percent of doctors trained in Papua New Guinea are choosing to remain in urban centres and work is being undertaken with donor partners to try and change this mentality in future medical students.

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