Operating 24/7 through the accessible hotline 111, the NAOC boasts 11 dedicated staff members handling a staggering 2,000 calls per 12-hour shift.
This dynamic centre not only coordinates emergency calls but goes above and beyond, providing crucial first aid instructions over the phone and dispatching ambulances strategically across key regions, including the National Capital District, Central, Lae, Kokopo, Kerema, Kundiawa, Goroka, and Mt Hagen.
The impact of the NAOC is quantifiable in its ability to save lives efficiently. Swiftly managing and dispatching emergency calls, the centre gains precious minutes during critical situations.
Trained call-takers adeptly gather crucial details, ensuring an appropriate and rapid response. In the previous year alone, St John Ambulance responded to approximately 21,500 emergencies, underscoring the indispensable role played by the NAOC.
This lifeline doesn't merely end with call coordination. The NAOC operates as a central command centre, streamlining resource allocation and enhancing the reliability and promptness of emergency medical responses.
Throughout the process, the NAOC maintains communication with the caller, providing instructions on how to assist the patient until the ambulance arrives.
Adding to its arsenal, the NAOC employs a specialized computerized ambulance dispatch system, Responder One. This system aids call-takers in recording vital information such as the patient's location, status, and medical history, promptly transmitted to the responding ambulance crew. This technological advancement ensures faster response times and appropriate medical care.
Crucially, the PNG government recognizes the pivotal role of the NAOC and has actively supported its mission. With a significant investment of K1.5 million, a new, modern NAOC building equipped with advanced technology and efficient communication systems has been constructed.
Apollos Tago, the NAOC manager, underscores the importance of bringing pre-hospital care to those in need of emergency assistance.
While coordinated ambulance services are not yet nationwide, collaborative efforts with provincial and national governments are underway to expand ambulance coverage.
In essence, the Ambulance NAOC is more than just a helpline; it stands as the secret ingredient that has transformed Papua New Guinea's emergency ambulance response system, saving lives and providing hope precisely when it is needed most. Plans for nationwide expansion signal a promising future for emergency medical care in Papua New Guinea.