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Tailoring medical education in Papua New Guinea to the needs of the country

Isi H Kevau, John D Vince and Jean V McPherson
Med J Aust 2004; 181 (11): 608-610.
Published online: 6 December 2004

The training of Papua New Guinean doctors began in the 1950s, when students were sent to the Fiji School of Medicine, graduating with a Diploma in Medicine and Surgery. The Papuan Medical College (PMC) was established in Port Moresby in 1962, training all health professionals, including doctors, nurses, x-ray and laboratory technicians. Medical graduates received a Diploma in Medicine and Surgery. In 1965, when the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) was established, the PMC became the Faculty of Medicine. The first medical students graduated in February 1973 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB BS); the first graduating class comprised four expatriates and only one Papuan. In September 1975, PNG became an independent nation. In 2000, with the restructuring of the UPNG, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences became responsible for training in nursing (postgraduate), dentistry, pharmacy, diagnostic imaging and medical laboratory sciences. PNG students are selected for medicine and health sciences on the basis of their results in a common foundation year at UPNG or Pacific Adventist University. Other Pacific islander students who meet the academic criteria enter the MB BS course directly. Approximately 40 students are admitted to the MB BS course each year. Health extension officers (allied health workers with administrative and basic clinical training), who, together with nurses, are responsible for much of primary healthcare, are trained at Divine Word University in Madang.

  • Isi H Kevau1
  • John D Vince2
  • Jean V McPherson3

  • School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

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