PNG COVID-19 crisis

18 March 2021

The prime minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG), James Marape, has warned that the country's health system will not be able to cope with the staggering number of cases emerging.

While testing rates in Australia’s nearest neighbour remain low, 50 per cent of the most recent batch of 500 swabs, tested in Australia by Queensland Health, returned positive results. At Port Moresby General Hospital around 30 per cent of the maternity department workforce has COVID-19.

The college’s Global Development Committee has strong links to the anaesthesia and broader health community in Papua New Guinea and is in regular contact to support colleagues there. Dr Arvin Karu, President of the Society of Anaesthetists of Papua New Guinea and a member of the Global Development Committee, reports that major hospitals are beginning to be swamped. The Society is commencing ventilator refresher courses for senior medical officers around the country next week, although ventilation is extremely limited outside of the capital.

In collaboration with the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA), the New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists (NZSA) and the Society for Paediatric Anaesthesia in New Zealand and Australia (SPANZA), the college has recently launched Pacific Online Learning and Education - a series of live online sessions to support colleagues in the Pacific. These target a range of anaesthesia providers including consultants, junior doctors, trainees, anaesthetic nurses and anaesthetic scientific officers. 

Last updated 10:35 18.03.2021