Papua New Guinea Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats
Papua New Guinea is a developing country located in the north of Australia. With just over 8 million people, this vast island nation is rich in cultural diversity. Despite its isolated location and underdeveloped infrastructure, it has an expat population of just over 25,000. Nature lovers will be attracted to its natural beauty and enchanting landscapes. However, healthcare is still a significant concern for international citizens living in this country. Here’s what you need to know about the Papua New Guinea healthcare system.
Despite the assistance and support from neighboring countries in the past decade, Papua New Guinea struggled to control dreaded diseases like Malaria, Typhoid, Tuberculosis, Cholera, HIV/AIDS, etc. As a part of the public health policy, the National Department of Health is working hard to implement the National Health Plan (2011 -2020). This includes addressing issues related to resources, training of medical staff, and improving the overall healthcare standards in the 19 hospitals run by them. Local and provincial governments run most of the rural healthcare services.
Overview of Healthcare in Papua New Guinea
Healthcare services in Papua New Guinea are inadequate, and the federal government mainly funds them. There are very few hospitals, and the current healthcare infrastructure is a combination of government, private facilities, and church facilities. Most of the healthcare facilities are in urban areas.
Public healthcare in Papua New Guinea is free for residents. However, patients would need to pay a small fee for outpatient fees. Emergency medical services can be easily obtained in cities or urban areas. However, in case of treatments for serious cases, patients will have to opt for medical evacuation to Australia, which can again be quite costly. Also, note that you will have to pay upfront in cash if you want to get treated in most of the private clinics and hospitals in Papua New Guinea.
How the Papua New Guinea Healthcare System Works for Expats
Apart from the urban areas, Papua New Guinea’s medical facilities are generally underfunded. The scarcity of adequate medical resources, including professionals and medical supplies, is still a significant concern for the small number of expat population living in the country.
That said, expats can go to the cities of Port Moresby and Lae for emergency services and medical procedures. However, patients will have to pay in cash directly for various treatments. In the case of specialist treatment, patients may need to be transported to Australia. You should go for vaccinations for cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, and malaria before you move to Papua New Guinea. As an expat, you should also have adequate prescription medicines stocked up before you travel.
Expats usually opt for international health insurance so that they can seek treatments in Australia during an emergency evacuation. Don’t forget to take the necessary precautions against malaria during your stay in Papua New Guinea.
Public Healthcare in Papua New Guinea
Since its independence, the government of Papua New Guinea has been focusing on providing primary healthcare to everyone living within its territory. The government-operated national health system is responsible for providing primary healthcare. The health conditions of the entire population have improved to a certain extent. However, the lack of adequate provisions to prevent fatal diseases like malaria is still a major concern in the country. Experts believe that this nation must come up with effective measures to improve the efficiency and quality of public healthcare rather than expanding the existing health care system. You can visit the Papua New Guinea Ministry of Health for additional information.
Private Healthcare in Papua New Guinea
Private healthcare facilities in Papua New Guinea are steadily improving. Thanks to new private facilities coming up in the urban areas. The Aspen Medical Harbour City private healthcare clinic is one of the best private facilities in the country. It provides a wide range of facilities, including primary healthcare, 24/7 emergency treatments that include house calls and ambulance, pathology, medical imaging, etc.
Expats should purchase a comprehensive expat health insurance plan that also offers coverage for emergency evacuations. Ideally, you should apply for an entry visa for Australia before you reach Papua New Guinea. This will help you to get the desired medical care in case of emergency evacuation to Australia. Medical evacuation insurance, which is often sold as an option for most global health plans, is definitely recommended.
Emergency Medical Services in Papua New Guinea
For Emergency Medical Services in the country, you need to dial 1567. This will help you to avail of ambulance service and emergency medical evacuation.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Common medicines are readily available in the local medical stores across Papua New Guinea. However, carrying your own prescribed medicines would be ideal when you staying for a longer period.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats Living in Papua New Guinea
Compared to Western countries, Papua New Guinea’s healthcare system is poor. Expats may have to seek medical assistance in Australia during a critical illness or a serious accident. Foreign nationals and expats are usually advised to go for comprehensive international health insurance that also offer emergency evacuation benefit.