Port Moresby hospital under strain with overcrowding, says doctor

Overloaded POM hospital
Port Moresby General Hospital ... services the capital with an estimated population of 385,000. Image: PMC screenshot of The National front page

By Lulu Mark in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea’s biggest hospital is straining to provide medical services to the growing population of the capital Port Moresby – with an estimated growth rate of 3 percent annually, a medical executive says.

Port Moresby General Hospital chief executive officer Dr Paki Molumi said overcrowding, especially in the emergency department, was a big concern.

“The population increases at 3 percent a year yet services remain the same,” Dr Molumi said.

“There is a discrepancy between demand and supply which is reflected by the overcrowding.”

He said sometimes patients died while waiting to be attended to because of the long queue.

“The hospital serves over a million people in Port Moresby, Central and Gulf,” he said.

“Limited staff are struggling to meet the demand which reduces the quality of care given to a sick person.

Specialised care needed
“As a specialist hospital, it should be concentrating on delivering specialised care so that our people do not need to go overseas for that.

“Instead, we are taking on primary and secondary care as we do not have a separate hospital for the growing population in the city.”

The city has an estimated population of 385,000.

Dr Molumi was responding to a complaint on social media about a woman being admitted at the emergency ward on Saturday but was not attended to until Monday night.

“There is no hospital for Central and the Gulf Hospital cannot offer adequate services,” he said.

“Hence, all come to the Port Moresby General Hospital.

“The overcrowding at the emergency department and outpatients is a reflection of a defective health service we are offering to our people.”

Dr Molumi sees a separate hospital for the National Capital District Health Authority and Central to look after primary and secondary healthcare, leaving Port Moresby General Hospital to concentrate on referrals as the best solution to the overcrowding.

Right now, he said, the hospital was dealing with “everything” which was putting a strain on existing resources.

Lulu Mark is a reporter for The National. Asia Pacific Report republishes The National articles with permission.

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