PNG

Strengthening access to healthcare in Papua New Guinea

Together with the World Bank, UNOPS has opened three new digital X-ray facilities to aid in the early prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis.

Previously, patients from across the National Capital District would be referred to Port Moresby General Hospital – the main hospital in the country – for X-ray imaging. If the radiology services were at capacity, patients would need to depend on private hospitals.

“If someone has to travel to Port Moresby General Hospital and then wait for their results, the reality is that they may simply not go,” said Ian Rector, former UNOPS Country Manager in Papua New Guinea.“When you delay diagnosing a problem, you delay treatment. This makes illnesses and injuries worse, and can make them more expensive to treat,”

Funded by the World Bank, UNOPS managed the procurement for the facilities, which allow for on-site X-ray imaging. With free access for patients, the new facilities relieve pressure on Port Moresby General Hospital and increase the availability of valuable diagnostic tools for the people who need them.

“Having this X-ray capacity within these premises means a lot for [the National Capital District] public health services,” said Rueben Kitembing, Director of Curative Services at Gerehu Hospital. “Our clinical services will be very much improved. We have more than a hundred people here each day who would require an X-ray.”

The Provincial Health Authority has also hired a radiologist for Gerehu Hospital. UNOPS helped train six radiographers to increase the expertise needed to keep services running.

Being able to capture and share X-rays on-site supports clinicians who are able to see digital X-ray images almost immediately after they are taken. A process that normally took days now takes a few hours, improving access to healthcare for patients across the National Capital District.