PAPUA NEW GUINEA (Commonwealth Union)_Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape declared on Sunday night (December 11, 2022) that the government is working to build an independent University for medical education by 2025. He was speaking at a ball to celebrate the end of training for the class of 2022 final year medical students. This year’s cohort is the 50th after the first Hippocratic oath was recited in November 1972.
“The medical faculty graduated six medical students in 1972. The population was only about three million people. Over the last fifty years, we have graduated thirty new doctors every year on average, yet our population has grown to well over 10 million. As a result, our doctor-to-patient ratio is concerning, and we must confront this issue head on,” the Prime Minister said. He further noted that it is critical that the government invest in doctor training to assist reduce the ratio to an appropriate level. He stated that the government is spending in health care facilities and infrastructure, and that this expenditure must be matched by an investment in human resources to administer the facilities.
The Prime Minister commended Vice Chancellor Professor Frank Griffin and Chancellor Robert Igara of the University of Papua New Guinea for agreeing to cooperate on establishing the School of Medicine and Health Sciences as a separate Medical University. “I thank the Chancellor Igara and Vice Chancellor Griffin for agreeing and embracing the large vision and supporting the government’s appeal to work towards delivering on this aim for our people and our country. We must strive hard to achieve this by 2025, when our country will be celebrating 50 years of independence.”
He also stated that the government has begun work on developing significant processes and systems for identifying bright individuals in high school and directing them into vital programmes of study such as medicine, as well as actively supporting those ambitions. He stated that the government intended to ensure that we build quality by keeping the entry point at very high levels.
“Over the last two years we have invested in expanding student numbers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from high school we are convinced that from next year onwards, we will have at least two hundred exceptionally smart students who are ready to study courses such as medicine. We believe that this will result in high-quality individuals entering our universities’ science foundation programmes,” PM Marape said.