Aust Day awardee recalls ‘valuable’ PNG days

National, Normal

AS A medical student, Frank Shann travelled to Papua New Guinea, and later spent seven years working there, against the advice of senior doctors and teachers, The Age newspaper reported yesterday.
Dr Shann was made a member of the Order of Australia yesterday for services to medicine.
Dr Shann, a pediatrician, says he looks back on his time in PNG as the most valuable of his career.
“Many of the leading figures in medicine here told me not to go, said that I would ruin my career by getting out of the rat race here,” he recalls.
“But they were wrong. It was fun and it was useful, and why not do something useful with your life?”
Dr Shann, now 65, stayed in PNG until 1982. In what he calls his most important work, he discovered the cause of pneumonia in children and strategies to prevent and treat the disease.
The father of three also helped to eradicate pigbel, a common cause of death in children over 12-months-old in the PNG Highlands.
In 1975, he worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross as one of three doctors in East Timor during the Indonesian invasion.
From 1986 to 2006, he was director of intensive care at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. – The Age