EHS-COVID (513) Disrupted care in Papua New Guinea

15 January, 2022

CITATION: Disrupted care in Papua New Guinea: the harms of COVID-19

Chris McCall

The Lancet - World report| volume 399, issue 10321, p226-227, january 15, 2022

Published: January 15, 2022 DOI:


The COVID-19 pandemic in Papua New Guinea shows no sign of ending, and its worst legacy might be its effect on other diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria.

The Global Fund vice-chair Roslyn Morauta is a former first lady of Papua New Guinea. Morauta told The Lancet money was redistributed to tackle COVID-19, leading ultimately to shortages in other areas. This should not have happened, she said, as money from international donors had been set aside to tackle COVID-19. It had bad effects on a weak health system, in a country with an increasing population, many of whom are poor. “You are seeing that now with closure of services,” she said. “You cannot underestimate how badly broken and dysfunctional the health system is. The waste in the system is extraordinary. Workers may work for months and not get paid.”...

Medical microbiologist Gabriella Ak said testing for HIV/AIDS in Port Moresby General Hospital had decreased by 15% in 2020 and 2021 compared with previous years, while malaria testing had dropped by 32%, reflecting the current thinking of clinicians as much as failure of patients to present. “Numbers have gone really down. They have just put everything on the shelf and are just concentrating on COVID. Clinicians have just gone COVID crazy and are leaving everything else.”...

Ross Hutton, a public health consultant to the Papua New Guinea National Malaria Control Program, said the pull-out of many foreign health advisers had an effect, as did reassignment of resources to COVID-19. “You are getting a malaria vehicle being used to go out and do COVID activities. Then you have a malaria team that do not have transport to go out,” he said...


Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,