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Erbe supports aid project in Papua New Guinea

The physician Dr. Sebastian Freudenberg, chief physician at the HELIOS clinic in Bad Berleburg, left for Papua New Guinea in April 2018 to help set up the medical structures in the remote Pacific state.

We donated a VIO unit together with accessories for his project, which is supported by the Nordkirche Hamburg. Medical technology of our standard and trained personnel are difficult to find in Papua New Guinea. The equipment we have provided is also used for training local physicians.

Dr. Freudenberg, you left for Papua New Guinea on April 1 to help set up the medical infrastructure there. What exactly are your plans?

Freudenberg: our goal is to standardize surgical care and train the local junior staff who will still be here when our work is expected to be completed in three years. Academic collaboration with the only two universities in the country is also very close to my heart. My idea is to further develop surgical training for students and assistant physicians.

What is the current situation of the population in Papua New Guinea, particularly with regard to medical care? Very little is heard in Europe about this country.

Papua New Guinea is a country with a very diverse geography. The country is crossed by a 200-kilometer-wide, rugged mountain range with steep valleys and difficult to access plains. This natural environment has favored the isolated tribal formation which has taken place in New Guinea. As a result, there are more than 750 different languages and tribes. The possibilities for medical care are also rather limited. Of course there are hospitals in the centers, but many people live in remote areas and are not motorized or have access to public transport.

What is your daily life as a physician in Papua New Guinea like?

There are surgery days twice a week and visits, outpatient consultations and, of course, the surgical emergency program on the other days. Depending on the holiday period, we are two to three physicians in the hospital, who also share night duty. There is no such thing as an off-duty night shift.