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Papua New Guinea cannot continue to “export” heart patients seeking medical treatment overseas, says Prime Minister James Marape.

In a media statement, he said this on July 22nd, 2021. He was witnessing the historical first-ever stenting procedure at Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH).

Stenting is a treatment where a small mesh tube is placed in a person’s blood vessel to widen it. Thus, it  allows for efficient blood flow, preventing him or her from dying of heart attack.

In a first for the country, PMGH has become the first public hospital in the country to carry out invasive cardiac catherization to diagnose and treat coronary heart diseases.


Health Minister, Jelta Wong, Kumul Petrolum Holdings Ltd (KPHL) Managing-Director Wapu Sonk, Health Secretary Dr Osborne Liko, PMGH Chief Executive Officer Dr Paki Molumi, and others witnessed the event.

It is a culmination of the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Health and PMGH, with funding support from KPHL for K10 million over five years, with an overall project value of K50 million.


The event was very significant in that PMGH no longer has to wait for overseas volunteers to come and perform these procedures at scheduled times of the year. Now the hospital has the capacity to perform the procedures all-year round when needed by patients.

“We cannot export our patients elsewhere,” PM Marape said.

“In fact, we can import patients into our country, as well as serve our country’s needs in the health sector
“Today, I am happy, because it is a small step in the right direction.”

PM Marape said PMGH had progressed from angiography procedures, performed by visiting interventional cardiologists, to stenting.

He recalled that in July 2019, shortly after becoming PM, he visited PMGH to check on its heart facilities.

“Today, two years on, we’ve advanced into stenting, we can do operations here,” PM Marape said.

It would be insanity on me, as prime minister, to medevac to Singapore, and yet my people don’t have the money to be medevaced.

“It was prudent and responsible on us to make this step.

“We had to step in and enter into partnership so that funding, from money belonging to people of Papua New Guinea, is not squandered in pet contracts and feel-good projects with no significant returns to our people.

This one has significant returns straight to our people. We need money to go to Singapore, we need money to go to the Philippines, we need money to go elsewhere for operations.

“Well, that can stop.

“We can do (heart) operations here.”

PM Marape commended the management and board of PMGH for their leadership thus far.
“Port Moresby General Hospital is not just a hospital for the city,” he said.

“This (stenting) is not an intervention programme for Port Moresby residents themselves.
“This is also for the rest of the country.”


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