|Ambulance driver Baluma Apani with one of the new fleet of EMSPNG ambulances .Photo provided|
Pacific Assurance Group, one of PNG’s largest insurers and 100% nationally owned, has thrown an unprecedented level of support behind Emergency Medial Services PNG (EMSPNG).
In a pioneering act of corporate support to vital health services struggling for necessary Government funding, Pacific Assurance Group have committed to sponsoring a fleet of ambulances belonging to EMSPNG which are now the most modern equipped ambulances in PNG.
The move represents a possible future blueprint for corporate social responsibility among local companies related to the health industry.
Four ambulances have been brought in from Australia and housing the most modern equipment of any ambulance in the nation. A patient can now elect to be transported to any medical provider of their choice. Inaddition any costs for ambulance transport will automatically be covered under Pacific Assurance Group’s Health Insurance Policies.
“Healthcare in PNG is in a bad state with the government unable to cope,” explained PAG CEO Paul Affleck.
“We saw a need to provide initiatives for healthcare in line with the Government’s Vision 2050, so we created an environment where people could seek treatment at the appropriate time and in the appropriate setting in order to maintain and improve their health. Traditionally people had to save for treatment, borrow money for treatment or not have treatment at all. This meant they got sicker and took longer to recover meaning the treatment ended up being more expensive.”
With the assistance of EMSPNG, Pacific Assurance Group is also setting up a 24-hour call centre where any insured PAG member may call the centre and speak with a doctor, who can provide medical advice over thetelephone or arrange for an ambulance to take the patient to a hospital.
“In conjunction with EMSPNG we can arrange for an evacuation to Australia or the closest place of treatment within PNG. Assistance to secure a visa for non-Australians will be arranged so patients can obtain treatment from medical providers in Australia in the case of emergency treatment being required. We can also arrange appointments with PNG Specialists for treatment in country,” Mr Affleck added.
“These are firsts for PNG and we continue to work on a number of other firsts which will be revealed in due course.”
EMSPNG's main goal is to ensure that the general public has access to professional pre-hospital care emergency medical services.
“This has been, for many years, a major concern in the Health Sector in PNG despite St Johns Ambulance operating incountry - largely due to resource constraints," said Dr Lautofa Pulotu of EMSPNG.
"This will see the launch of the first ever professional ambulance service with vehicles fully kitted with the state of the art medical equipment and emergency medicines, manned by qualified paramedics and medical staff who are trained to handle any emergency medical case. As EMSPNG operates on a paid Membership basis, the K100,000 sponsorship from PAG for the EMSPNG Ambulance Service will allow all of PAG's 10,000 odd members access to the service if an ambulance is required.”
Founded just seven years ago by prominent PNG businessman Johnson Tia, Pacific Assurance Group is now one of the largest insurers in PNG and is now the largest health insurer in PNG covering in excess of 75,000 people.