Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

Rural Health Patrols in remote PNG

Working in Papua New Guinea can be challenging for service delivery and Australian Doctors International (ADI) like other Government and Non-Government Organisations, has faced common challenges including the topography of land, the sparseness of the population and limited access to health infrastructure and services.

To address these challenges, ADI, working with Provincial health authorities, is supporting Integrated Rural Health Patrols to meet the demands of people in Western Province and New Ireland Province.

The Integrated Rural Health Patrols involve multi-disciplinary teams travelling to communities in rural and remote areas to ‘treat and train’ patients and health care workers. The patrols are conducted in partnership with Catholic Health and Horizon Oil in Western Province and the Provincial Health Authority and Newcrest Mining in New Ireland.

In New Ireland, ADI works closely with local hospitals and the Provincial Health Authority, to secure qualified health workers to join the health patrol team, which travels by land or sea, to rural centres for a period of up to two weeks. 

The health workers specialise in areas including, dental health, optometry, disease control, physiotherapy and maternal and child health.  A volunteer Australian doctor, engaged by ADI for a 6-month placement also joins the integrated health team on the patrols.

When in a community, the team will treat patients during the day at the clinic and conduct training with the local health workers, based on the needs of the local staff.  The team stays with the local community who provide accommodation and meals for an agreed rate.

ADI has developed an annual patrol schedule, which seeks to visit targeted health facilities, once, sometimes twice a year, prioritising the more remote centres.

Review and reflection with Provincial Health occurs regularly, to help embed rural and remote health system improvement into the Provincial health agenda.

ADI is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program.

For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0100

Nurse Kiasha McInnes on patrol in Western Province October 2016.