Doctor slams O’Neill’s plan on foreign doctors

A concerned doctor has slammed the announcement by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to bring in Cuban doctors to work in the public health sector throughout the country.

Director of Medical Services of Laloki Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Ludwig Nanawar said the registration of foreign doctors is the function of the Medical Board of PNG, governed by the Medical Registrations Act and not politicians and their bureaucrats.    

Dr Nanawar said Cuban doctors must be fully registered before they can come and practice in the country’s health system.

“They can come in later when they have been duly registered.

“The Board decides whether the Cuban doctors can be registered to work here as doctors or not. Medical and Nursing jobs are regulated by regulatory bodies to ensure safe practices towards treating human beings.

“As far as I know, the PNG Medical Board only register doctors graduating from medical schools accredited by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) only.

“Cuban medical curriculum is not recognized and accredited by the WFMH and so the verdict is simple: Cuban Doctor's will not be registered. I will go on hunger strike if the Medical Board went ahead and registered them (which I'm sure they won’t).

“Mind you there are hundreds of PNG doctors out there in the wilderness who cannot get a job in the public health care system because of no positions. On one hand, it has frozen all recruitment in the public service, on the other it's trying to create positions for expatriates. What nonsense and hypocrisy,” Dr Nanawar said.

Prime Minister O’Neill in a media statement stated that discussions to bring Cuban doctors to work in Papua New Guinea will be held in November.

“Disease and illness do not observe borders, and we in Papua New Guinea must have an open policy to bring in expertise and skills where we can find them around the world. Expanding universal healthcare is a core policy of our Government, and we are working to increase the number of healthcare professionals that serve our people,” O’Neill said.

Charles Yapumi