Doctor-patient ratio uneven

There are only 602 doctors practicing in Papua New Guinea.

According to the standard doctor-to-people ratio set by the World Health Organization is 1:1000; however, that is not the case in PNG as one doctor is serving 17,000 patients. This is alarming.

Minister for Health Dr Lino Tom shared this in parliament today.

Morobe Governor Luther Wenge has asked Minister Tom to bring in overseas doctors to support the health workforce in the country.

Dr Tom also raised concerns that the medical school in the country is also producing a constant number of doctors not exceeding 60 every year which is a big problem in the country.

“Now if you look at the population, it is increasing rapidly. There lies our problem. We have a population that is growing out of proportion and yet we have a constant number of doctors produced every year.

“Now to make matters worse, we have 50 doctors who contested in the last elections and to bring them back onboard is taking a lot of time.”

Dr Tom however, thanked Governor Wenge for proposing on bringing overseas doctors to PNG.

He said the Government needs to look for short term measures and find doctors within our region who are competent and compatible to the systems of our country.

Dr Tom however, told Parliament as well that the biggest problem in bringing overseas doctors is funding.

“We can’t source those help simply because we don’t have money to bring the doctors into the country.”

However, he said the Government is looking at some short and long term measures like increasing the capacity so we can produce the number of doctors needed in the country.

He added that the Government is also looking at allowing medical schools to be a university on its own as well as encouraging other institution to come on board.

Dr Tom admitted that it cannot be achieved in short term but can be achieved in long term if funding is made available.

Minister Tom also mentioned that only 5500 nurses are currently serving in the country which is also a serious issue in the country.

Meantime, Dr Tom said the Government is on track and importantly working on the quality of health care in the country. It is of paramount significance.

Freddy Mou