PNG Needs More Doctors

By Fabian Hakalits – EMTV News Port Moresby

Divine Word University (DWU) has taken a bold stance with its Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) Program to meet Papua New Guinea’s need for more doctors.

Since introducing its MBBS program, DWU has been heavily criticised, with claims the program was rushed in planning and lacks quality.

However, Dean of the Medicine and News Sciences Faculty, Dr. Clement Malau, in an exclusive interview told EMTV News there is a critical need for more doctors.

Dr. Malau has brushed aside critics, calling for support on this program to help address the human resource crisis, especially with the shortage of doctors in the country.

He said that the national health system lacks a sufficient workforce, especially in rural areas, to improve primary health care.

“The people will determine the market forces for the supply of quality people out there; I am really 100 per cent certain that in 10 or in 20 years, everyone will run around wanting to see a doctor.

“Shall we have no doctors out there ready for them? I really ask our colleagues, whoever they are, to be open minded and [to] please work with us,” he said.

Dr. Malau said DWU has the right values and is committed to quality and standards.

With the necessary infrastructure, this will help provide health care professionals with the heart to serve.

“First as a contribution to the country’s development, we want to really participate. For us it’s the health sector we want to support. I really think that those are the main ingredients and commitments the university has to contribute to nation building.”

It took DWU 10 years to establish this MBBS program, partnering with the National News Department, PNG Medical Board and other stakeholders like Naples Frederico II University School of Medicine in Italy, which is one of the oldest medical schools in the world, to deliver a quality outcome.

Head of the Medicine Department, Dr. Jerzy Kuzma, said the MBBS program is being offered in line with World Federation for Medical News standards.

“This is something that is new and that’s true, we are at the beginning of the part. We are building capacity. We don’t have all human resources or infrastructure in places yet. But we have planned for that and we actively working to implement this plan.

“This is to ensure our graduates have required capacity,” Dr. Kuzma said.

The first batch of 29 students has been enrolled in the MBBS program.


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