Concern raised over doctor, patient ratio


AMONG bad health indicators facing PNG, the current one doctor to 17,620 patient ratio (1:17,620) is more than 40 times worse than the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved ratio of 1:400, chief consultant to the University of Goroka’s school of medicine and teaching hospital project Dr John Tonar says.
He said the medical school and teaching hospital project was attached to the current programmes the university was delivering; it would greatly assist PNG to reduce the ratio and its ailing health indicators.
Tonar outlined the rationale for the project and the doctor-patient ratio stood out.
He was accompanied by chancellor of UOG Joseph Sukwianomb.
“Some developed countries in the world meet the WHO ratio, in PNG we need 23,000 doctors to meet that requirement with a current population soaring towards 8.9 million people,” he said.
“The 120,000 health workers currently in our health system, just cannot satisfy the demand,” Tonar said.
He said the only medical school in the country produced 30 to 50 doctors annually, a the cost of around K20 million under an Australian-devised curriculum, there were some compromise in the quality of doctors graduating every year.
“The scenario does not help the indicator, PNG is rated 154th out of 187 countries in the world in the human capital development index, the situation is not only for medical professionals and manpower in the health sector but other sectors as well.
“We even do not have 1,000 doctors in PNG, we have below 950 doctors in the country, according to the National Doctors Association statistics,” Tonar said.
He said with a 2.5 per cent population growth rate annually, with the sector leaning on deteriorating colonial health facilities with minimal manpower it could not absorb the demand. Tonar said the question was how the country could improve its ailing health indicators.