Papua New Guinea Health Insurance
Those moving or traveling to Papua New Guinea will undoubtedly have many questions regarding how their healthcare system works, as well as whether private health insurance in Papua New Guinea is necessary. This guide provides information about Papua New Guinea, its healthcare system, and further outlines the key health insurance options available in the country. Read on to learn more, or click below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
About Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is located in the region of Oceania, referring to the group of islands between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean and east of Indonesia. The country covers the eastern part of New Guinea, which is the second-largest island in the world. Port Moresby is the capital of Papua New Guinea and its largest city. Papua New Guinea is a Commonwealth realm with Elizabeth II as Queen of Papua New Guinea, and the country gained its independence in 1975.
The country is best known for the large number of local tribes living self-sustainable life in remote areas of the island, with up to 80% of the country's population living outside of urban areas. Tourists come to Papua New Guinea to visit dense rainforests and dive in one of the many coral reefs.
Healthcare system in Papua New Guinea
Health services in Papua New Guinea are primarily funded by the federal government and are very limited, and the country has a limited number of hospitals. Healthcare services are provided by a combination of government, private facilities, and church facilities – the majority of which are located in urban centers.
Public health services are supposed to be free of charge to citizens, although small fees are usually charged for outpatient services. While medical facilities in urban areas should be able to provide adequate emergency care in some cases, many serious cases may require you to be medically evacuated to Australia for treatment, which can be very expensive. Most hospitals and doctors in Papua New Guinea expect immediate payment in cash for treatment.
It is therefore recommended that you have comprehensive Papua New Guinea expat health insurance that covers emergency medical evacuations. You should also gain an entry visa for Australia prior to your visit to Papua New Guinea, in case you need to be transported there for medical treatment.
Papua New Guinea travel advice
Travel in Papua New Guinea is generally considered safest when done through organized tour groups or with the help of your sponsor in the country. You should try to dress modestly and avoid wearing jewelry or displaying expensive personal items in public, as pickpocketing and robbery are common.
Papua New Guinea sits along the so-called “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean, meaning that earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tsunamis are a possibility. The tropical cyclone season which usually falls between November and May and large tropical storms may cause flooding and landslides. It is advised you seek local expertise on what precautions you should take on your trip.
The threat of terrorism is low in Papua New Guinea, but travelers are advised to be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks by terrorists around the globe. These may be targeted at public areas, including places where tourists and expatriates may gather.
If you plan to go on a hike along a trail or track, including the scenic Kokoda Trail, verify with a tour operator whether or not the trails are open and safe before you start your trek. Make sure that you have paid any fees necessary before commencing your hike. There have been serious attacks at both the northern and southern ends of the trail and there may still be unexploded ordnance from World War II along the trail; visitors should exercise caution while trekking.
If you are intending to visit Bougainville Island, you should be conscious of the fact that separatist conflicts only recently ended in Bougainville and southern Bougainville still has sporadic occurrences of factional violence. Visitors must contact the Bougainville Provincial Administration with their intention to visit the island and once more when they arrive. The mountainous area near the Panguna mine is considered a ‘No Go Zone’ and should be avoided.
Cholera outbreaks remain widespread in Papua New Guinea and it is advised that you maintain high levels of food and water-related hygiene. Make sure to wash your hands after visiting the bathroom, and before eating. Make sure any bottled water you drink has an intact seal, otherwise boil or filter water in a purifier. Avoid ice in drinks, food from suspect sources and any raw fruit and vegetables you cannot peel yourself.
Dengue Fever and Malaria
Dengue Fever and Malaria are also a constant threat in Papua New Guinea. These diseases are transmitted via mosquitoes and while there is no cure for them there are preventative measures you can take. It is recommended you visit your personal doctor to talk about any vaccinations or preventative medications you may have to take.
Travel insurance for Papua New Guinea
Travel in Papua New Guinea is generally considered safest when done through organized tour groups or with the help of your sponsor in the country. You should try to dress modestly and avoid wearing jewelry or displaying expensive personal items in public. Because the medical infrastructure in Papua New Guinea is lacking, it is recommended you obtain comprehensive travel medical insurance with appropriate cover in case you sustain an injury that requires medical evacuation.
Papua New Guinea health insurance
Papua New Guinea’s healthcare infrastructure and healthcare system are considered basic in comparison to western standards. In the event of a serious illness or accident, visitors and resident expatriates in the country are advised to seek medical assistance in Australia. Therefore, it is highly recommended that all foreign nationals in the country obtain a comprehensive international health insurance policy which contains the emergency evacuation benefit.
For more information about Papua New Guinea, the health insurance plans we offer in the country or want a free quote, please contact one of our expert advisors today.