For expats planning their new life in Papua New Guinea, an overview of the healthcare system is important.
The healthcare system in Papua New Guinea is basic in comparison to many other countries. Quality of care varies greatly between medical facilities in cities like Port Moresby and aid posts in more remote rural places. Hospitals can be affected by power cuts, or drug and medical supply stock issues. Provided by the government and church organizations, healthcare is financed by public sector, company, or enterprise-based funders.
The National Department of Health is not directly responsible for all healthcare facilities, which results in some rural health services being underfunded. Public health services are supposed to be free to citizens, although small fees are often charged.
Expats will most likely want a Papua New Guinea international health insurance plan. If medical equipment or expertise is not on hand in the local hospital, patients may be flown to Australia for treatment; ensure your insurance policy covers this eventuality.
Prior to travel, expats may also want to consider immunization against cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B. During their time in Papua New Guinea, expatriates should also take appropriate precautions against malaria.
Education for the children of expatriates in Papua New Guinea is mainly focused in international schools. International schools often run pre-schools that children can attend five days a week. For primary-age students, international schools - where the teachers are mainly expatriate themselves, and the student population comprises of local Papua New Guinean children and the families of expats - offer an educational environment that is both stimulating and enriching. Students all wear uniform that can be purchased on arrival.
For high school-aged children, the schools follow the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) curriculum. The ACT certificate, issued in Year 12, is needed for local university admission. In addition, there is scope to attain internationally recognized qualifications; the International Certificate of Secondary Education in Year 10 and International Baccalaureate in Year 12.
The school day begins at about 8am and finishes between 2 and 3pm. Usually, there are 4 ten-week terms in the school year, which begins in the third or last week of January.
Driving in Papua New Guinea can be challenging – the tropical weather, the nature of the landscape, the erratic driving of other road users, and the fact that few of the roads are paved can all contribute to a testing driving experience. Port Moresby is not linked to any other cities by road, but there is a North Coast Highway that links Medang and Wewak. Another road, the Highlands Highway, begins in Lae and runs up into the Highlands via Goroka.
Traffic travels on the left hand side of the road and the minimum driving age is 18. On arrival in the country, foreigners can drive on their EU photo license or international driving license for up to a month. After that, a Papua New Guinea driver’s license is compulsory. The alcohol limit permitted for driving is the same as in the UK (Wales and England) and the USA (0.08).
In terms of other means of transport, there are no major railways in Papua New Guinea and the public buses (known as PMV’s) are not recommended. Although they are cheap to travel on they should be used with extreme caution, as sometimes they are not roadworthy.