Wednesday, December 16, 2009


One of the things that all of us (speaking for the doctors) enjoy is teaching. We have a fairly steady stream of medical students and residents (usually Family Practice) from abroad who come here for elective rotations.

We are also involved in a training program for Papua New Guinean doctors that is very similar to a Family Practice residency in the US, but uniquely adapted to the needs of PNG. It's called a Master of Medicine (Rural Health). This program caters to people who have already displayed a willingness to practice in the under-served parts of PNG. Most of the training is occurs at the Christian hospitals. At the moment these people (called registrars) come here for surgical rotations. So far (we've had 3 of the registrars) they are excellent in skill, knowledge, attitude and commitment.

When doctors in PNG first graduate from their basic medical training, they serve for 2 years in what here is called residency. It is most similar to a rotating internship in the US, but lasts for 2 years. As part of their second year, they are required to do a 3-month rural "attachment" (we'd call it a rotation in the US). We have hosted several of these residents. Currently Dr. Penge Oko is with us, now about a month into his attachment. This is the last attachment of his residency, so when he is done here he will be registered to practice, and can apply for jobs at any of the rural hospitals in PNG. Doctors are required to work for two years in a rural area before they can apply to any of the Master of Medicine programs (specialty training).

One nice thing about Penge is that he's from the local area, so his first language is the first language of most of our patients. He doesn't need a translator even with the old folks who don't speak Pidgin. He's doing very well. He shows an openness about learning, and a willing to ask questions and ask for help that is making it fun to teach him.

In the photo Dr. Penge is treating a patient along with Dr. Susan Myers.

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