Lack of funding forces PNG Ambulance service to close

2:24 pm on 3 September 2015

The St John Ambulance service in Papua New Guinea will shut down its operations today after chronic delays in Government funding crippled its operations and left its fleet without fuel.

St John Ambulance in PNG

St John Ambulance in PNG Photo: St John Papua New Guinea

St John provides a public ambulance and health support service to millions of Papua New Guineans and the disruption has created an uproar with calls from health workers for the service to continue.

The chief commissioner of St John PNG, Andrew Kalai, says a US$1.2 million budget was submitted to run the service in 2015, but it has only received 35 percent of that which it has stretched over nine months.

He says running out of fuel is the last straw.

"For the sake of the services we provide to ordinary PNG citizens I hope the government will come good soon so that we can continue providing services. Because a lot of people in this country, they don't own cars. They depend on St John ambulance services to get to hospitals."

St John says ceasing operations is a last option after over a year of failed negotiations with the Department of Health.

It says it will continue to put pressure on the government so it can resume operations as early as possible, and is calling on the minister, Michael Malabag, to find a prompt resolution.