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Corporate sector must lift health services – leading doctor

Staff Reporter 10/29/2013 | | |
Dr Pulotu Photo Supplied 
Emergency Medical Services PNG (EMSPNG) founder Dr Lautofa Pulotu has implored the country’s corporate sector to follow the example set by new sponsorship partner Pacific Assurance Group (PAG).

Earlier this year Dr Pulotu and his wife Lydia McCarthy set up Papua New Guinea's first privately funded and owned ambulance service for residents in the capital Port Moresby. Last month EMSPNG enlisted major health insurance provider, PNG-owned Pacific Assurance Group as a sponsorship partner, with PAG sponsoring EMSPNG’s fleet of ambulances to the tune of K100,000. The ambulances are now the most modern equipped ambulances in PNG.

PNG healthcare services in the public sector have struggled to meet the needs of the general public for many years, which is why private sector operators must maintain successful operations in PNG, according to Dr Pulotu. 

“Pre-hospital care emergency medical services have been non-existent in PNG for many years.  The government is finding it a challenge to meet some of their health delivery commitments and understandably is looking for opportunities to partner with private sector operators to ensure the general public can access good quality healthcare services,” he explained.

“This lessens the burden on Government and provides opportunities for the private sector to operate successfully in the health sector and contribute positively to the PNG economy.

“We currently operate four fully fitted-out ambulances and having insurance companies, like Pacific Assurance Group, come on board as sponsors or partners in this initiative will assist in keeping this much needed service going in PNG.”

EMSPNG plans  to secure six further ambulances before the end of 2013 to cater for the forecasted growth in  membership.

“The public, expats and citizens alike, now have 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 in country, largely due to resource constraints,” Dr Pulotu added.

Dr Pulotu said PAG has further committed to paying the full corporate rate of per call out should one of its insured members require an ambulance. 

“This directly contributes to providing access to the general public to professional emergency medical services.  We aretherefore extremely grateful and excited about this great opportunity to partner with PAG in providing this much needed service to the PNG public,” he said.

“We hope other companies related to the health industry sit up an take notice of this development, because more help is needed to lift the standard of health services in this country.”

PAG has also set up a 24 hour Medical Helpline with EMS PNG, which Dr Pulotu said “raises the bar in terms of providing quality and effective healthcare services to the medical insured members of PAG.  The financial assistance from PAG will ensure the necessary equipment and medical staff are available to service this portion of the PAG members when the need arises.”

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