With a population of 7.3 million and Australia’s closest neighbour, there is no doubt that Australia has the most compelling obligation of all developed nations to support Papua New Guinea. Outreach surgeons are well placed and willing to offer support to local PNG doctors.
Of the 7+ million people in PNG, approximately 40% are now 18 years or under and as such, PNG has a burgeoning young adult population to deal with over the next 20 years. We know that young adults (particularly males), are the most likely group to suffer as a result of motor-vehicle accidents, violence, alcohol related injuries, knife injuries, falls from trees – and these are the injuries which require doctors to have skills and knowledge about orthopaedic surgery. Currently, the health system is very limited in its ability to deal with the volume of patients, and with the expected increase in orthopaedic trauma, the demand for competent surgeons with orthopaedic training is vital.
Outreach will support new programs in Mount Hagen and Lae in Papua New Guinea, which are expected to commence in 2016. Dr Andrew Ellis, Dr Tony Jeffries and Dr Rod Green, all Australian Orthopaedic Surgeons with considerable experience working in the developing world, have taken this initiative and will lead the teams in 2016. With strong respectful relationships in place with the local doctors and surgeons, our teams will work with them to build their surgical skills and knowledge.
Outreach will also continue to support the work of Australian surgeon Dr Rod Sharpe who has been working consistently in Rabaul for 10 years. Dr Sharpe, who grew up in Rabaul has a strong relationship with the locals and provides a valued service to the community.