20pc access services: Cannon

Matthew Cannon

POOR ambulance coverage in many parts of Papua New Guinea has resulted in many unnecessary deaths over the years and should not continue, an official says.
St John Ambulance (SJA) PNG chief executive officer Mathew Cannon said areas associated with poor ambulance coverage were associated with poor maternal outcomes.
He said currently only 20 per cent of the population (about 1.8 million out of the eight million) had access to reliable ambulance services through the 111 call.
Cannon said SJA services could reach parts of Central and Gulf but not other parts of the country.
He said it was unfortunate to see that the ambulances in the provinces lacked the basic equipment required in an ambulance.
“Some of the equipment donated with the ambulance were unopened and that could mean no one knows how to use it,” Cannon said. “An ambulance needs to be seen as an extension of the emergency room. Properly trained people are also needed.”
To improve ambulances services, Cannon said the Health Department, SJA, provincial health authorities and partners were working together towards ambulance accreditation standards. That would ensure training, safety and clinical governance, equipment, communication and coordination, fleet management, monitoring and reporting and re-training were maintained.
He said this would lead to a national ambulance network which was about accrediting and connecting ambulances to a single national number, a central coordinating centre, that would make it easier for the people to access healthcare in an emergency.