Australia is boosting its assistance to Papua New Guinea with the deployment of a second, larger team of health and medical specialists to respond to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
The 20 member Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) will provide expert support to Papua New Guinea’s National Control Centre for COVID-19 to help establish safe and effective systems to support the management of
severe and critical cases. The team will operate primarily from Port Moresby General Hospital.
The team includes clinical specialists that will address Papua New Guinea’s most pressing health workforce shortages and system gaps, in response to a request from the Government of Papua New Guinea and recommendations made by an initial AUSMAT team, which deployed on 23 March.
COVID-19 case numbers in Papua New Guinea have doubled since February 2021, reaching 7,634 cases and 68 known deaths as at 7 April. The team will be in Papua New Guinea for up to four weeks, working together
with local health authorities, including to:
- assist Port Moresby General Hospital to establish a hospital emergency
- strengthen capacity to support COVID-19 patients in critical care
establish a separate respiratory triage and initial treatment area
- provide coordination support to the National Control Centre for COVID19,
the National Department of Health, and the World Health
Organization (WHO); and
- provide specialist advice to Papua New Guinean authorities on how the
Government can best respond to the current upsurge of COVID-19
transmission in both central and provincial areas
The AUSMAT team has been vaccinated in advance of their travel to Port Moresby and will be able to start work as soon as they arrive. The team is travelling to Port Moresby on a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft that is also transporting additional medical supplies and infrastructure to support the response.
Supplies that are being delivered on this flight include: large tents, tables, chairs and stretchers
- refrigerators, eskies and coolers to store vaccines at an appropriate
- medical devices such as aspirators, defibrillators and vital signs
- further medical equipment for St John Ambulance PNG.
Since 13 March, five RAAF flights and one commercial flight have delivered
- 8,480 AstraZeneca vaccines and supplies to support the roll out,
- 200,000+ masks
- 100,000+ surgical gowns
- 175,000+ pairs of gloves
- 20,000+ pairs of goggles
- 3,000 GeneXpert testing cartridges
- 600 face shields
- 1,200 bottles of hand sanitiser
- five large community tents for triaging patients
- three mobile storage units to safely store supplies
- one ambulance vehicle for St John Ambulance PNG
We will continue to work closely with the Government of Papua New Guinea during this challenging time.
Australia’s support will help save lives and support our closest Pacific neighbour’s health system respond to the COVID-19 crisis.