This years meetings of the PNG Society for Rural and Remote Health are being devoted to the issue of “Encouraging and Supporting Careers in Rural Health”.
Download the program here. Program 2015
Given the media coverage and social media debate this year on this important topic, we decided to make it the theme of our entire meeting.
We will be having a series of speakers, from Secretary of NDOH, Pascoe Kase, Deans of both SMHS (UPNG) and Divine Word University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, CEO’s of WHP and Milne Bay PHA’s (James Kintwa and Billy Naidi) , Professor Glen Mola (discussing the residency program), as well as current serving rural doctors, residents and medical students.
The aim is to get as wide a perspective as possible on this critical issue, and aim to make resolutions that can give us a roadmap for the way forward.
There is a strong feeling that something needs to be done NOW, before our medical culture becomes ossified into an urbanized, privileged clique that is not only unable to help the rural majority, but culturally unqualified to do so.
Health Extension Work – Kerowaghi District
The PNG Society for Rural and Remote Health will be holding its meetings on Friday Sept 4th at Holiday Inn (Ballroom 2 and 3) and on Saturday Sept 5th at SMHS (UPNG), New Lecture Theatre 2.
Registration is not required to attend the Society meetings only (but is required to attend the preceding symposium). Food is complimentary.
Get along and have your input. We expect it to be a vigorous discussion!
“Doctors Short!” Stating the obvious perhaps, but this was the screaming front page of the Post Courier on May 25th.
Reviewing the current status of the medical workforce outside NCD, 49 of the 88 districts had no full time doctor present. This represented a population (using 2011 census data) of over 3.24 million people without access to medical care.
Given the fact that doctors based in provincial centres are for the most part not covering populations outside the LLG in which they reside, it is certain that a LLG by LLG breakdown of this data will give an even greater sense of urgency to the crisis.
This years Annual Medical Symposium, to be held at the Caritas Hall, East Boroko in Pt Moresby promises to see the debate on rural doctors pressed further.
At Tuesday lunch, a formal debate will be held on the resolution “Training doctors to work in rural areas is likely to make NO significant difference to the health of rural Papua New Guineans.”
So far as we know, its the first time a debate has ever been conducted at the Symposium and comes at a time when the discussion has been hot in the media. Headlines such as “Rich Doctors” (refusing to go and work rural) has seen plenty of passionate comments exchanged on social media platforms.
There will be 8 debaters; For the Affirmative Team – Dr Trevor Kelebi (Rural Specialist, Sandaun PHA), Dr James Naipao (National Doctors Association), Dr Athanasius Kari (MMED Rural 2nd year and Med Super at Raihu Hospital), and media personality Scott Waide from EMTV news.
For the Opposing team we have Dr Magdelene Taune (MMED Rural year 6 from Mingende Hospital), Dr Nora Dai (Womens Doctors Association), Prof Glen Mola (needs little introduction to all doctors in PNG), and Dr Kapua Kapua (final year resident – representing the undergraduate trainees.)
It promises to be a very lively event and hopefully will continue to stoke the discussion about the inequities in health care in PNG.
The last 2 years as seen the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at UPNG revive its rural exposure for final year students.
During the 1970’s PNG had a rural health program for medical undergrads that was world leading, but unfortunately this was allowed to slide. However with assistance from the Australian Govt through its HECS program, the School has now invested in this important 8 week rotation. Students are being flown all over the country to rural hospitals, often partnering with MMED (Rural) grads or registrars.
Buckle up – flying to Lapalama HC
The result has been a tangible excitement amongst the 5th years for their upcoming “rural block”. Currently students are being sent to Mingende (Simbu), Kompiam (Enga), Raihu (Aitape, Sandaun), Veifa (Central), and more recently to Vunapope in ENB. We are looking to expand the number of hospitals being used, so contact the Society if your hospital may be interested in hosting 5th years.
Around the fire while on patrol – Tekem, Enga
The 9th of April 2014 was a major landmark in the journey of rural health services for PNG, when Drs Trevor Kelebi, Gabriel Yohang and Felix Diaku, became the country’s first graduates of the MMED (Rural) program.
After 7 years of arduous post graduate training (all done while holding down full time Medical Superintendent jobs at their respective rural hospitals), they successfully completed their Part 2 exams in October. With completion of their last assignments and research project, and it was all finally done.
The first MMED (Rural) graduates – 2015
For those of us cheering them along the way, the graduation of these three young men represents a new beginning – with more coming through the program and with interest steadily growing, we are very hopeful that we will see a renaissance in interest in Rural Medicine amongst the medical fraternity, as these graduates increasingly become the advocates for change.