PNG's only medical helicopter service to expand

7:48 am on 20 July 2015

Papua New Guinea's only medical helicopter service is expanding, and its chief executive says it's having dramatic results in its coverage area.

rescue helicopter

Photo: 123RF

Manolos Aviation started a service in Morobe province in 2009 with only a helicopter, a pilot and a stretcher.

But its chief executive, Jurgen Ruh, says the service now has a nurse and medical equipment on every flight, which has drastically improved survival rates, and the service has just expanded into Milne Bay and Oro provinces.

Mr Ruh says since the expansion into Milne Bay in January, people in rural areas now have a significantly improved chance of survival should they become sick or injured.

"The health workers would often go from the health centre into villages, would treat a patient, then would perhaps put the patient on a speed boat, go across rough waters and try and arrive in Alotau a day, maybe two days, later in order to see that the patient expired on the way. And now from the time that health worker calls for help, it's perhaps an hour to Alotau hospital."

Jurgen Ruh says he aims to eventually have all of PNG within two hours of a helicopter service.