Papua New Guinea

Information for patients
Health services in Papua New Guinea are primarily funded by the federal government. They are delivered through 2 teaching tertiary hospitals, 20 provincial hospitals, 14 district hospitals, 732 health centres and 28 community health posts. The latter is a new initiative of the government aimed at decentralising the provision of healthcare services and making them more accessible to the communities that need them.

Healthcare services are provided by a combination of government, private facilities, and church facilities – the majority of which are located in urban centers. Public health services are supposed to be free of charge to citizens, although small fees are usually charged for outpatient services. While medical facilities in urban areas should be able to provide adequate emergency care in some cases, many serious cases may require medical evacuation to Australia, which can be very expensive. Most hospitals and doctors in Papua New Guinea expect immediate payment in cash for treatment.

Information for healthcare professionals
Papua New Guinea suffers from a critical shortage of human resources for health. Most recent estimates of health worker densities reflect 0.5 physicians per 10,000 population and 5.3 nurses per 10,000 population.

Information for travellers
Papua New Guinea’s healthcare infrastructure and healthcare system are considered basic in comparison to western standards. In the event of a serious illness or accident, visitors and resident expatriates in the country are advised to seek medical assistance in Australia. Therefore, it is highly recommended that all foreign nationals in the country obtain a comprehensive international health insurance policy which contains the emergency evacuation benefit. 

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 111 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Link to Ministry of Health: