What is it like to live and practice medicine in Papua New Guinea (PNG)? What are the needs?
PNG has fallen further on the United Nations Human Development Index, now ranked 156 (out of 187 listed) making it one of the least developed nations on earth.
It is hard place for many women. Many people consider it to have one of the highest rate of gender violence and rape in the world. According to UNICEF, when combining a high maternal mortality rate and high birth rate, 1 in 110 women will die in pregnancy and childbirth (compared to 1 in 8,000 in industrialized nations). That means women in PNG are 72 times more likely to die here than if they lived in the US, Australia, or other developed nations.
Likewise in 2012, 63 out of 100,000 children are estimated to die before the age of 5. In the United States it is only 7 out of 100,000.
In PNG there are 5 doctors per 100,000 people (compared to the world average of 139 doctors per 100,000 or the US which is 242 per 100,000).
Annual government spending for public medicines is only about US $6 per capita! (That means on average there is $6 worth of medicine available per person per year). This is why our government supplies of medicine often run short.
Over 80% of the population are subsistence farmers who live in rural areas where “basic services” such as roads, schools, communications, police, vaccines and medicines are unreliable or completely unavailable.