Capacity building in emergency care: An example from Madang, Papua New Guinea


  • Georgina A Phillips, MBBS, FACEM, Emergency Physician and Coordinator of International Programs, Honorary Lecturer; Jamie Hendrie, MBBS, FACEM, MD, Emergency Physician; Vincent Atua, MBBS, Dip. Anaes, PG Cert Teaching, MMed EM, Specialist Medical Officer and Director, Adjunct Lecturer Emergency Medicine; Clement Manineng, MBBS, Clinical Coordinator and Lecturer.

Correspondence: Dr Georgina A Phillips, Emergency Department, St Vincent's Hospital, PO Box 2900, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Vic. 3065, Australia. Email:



Divine Word University (DWU) is an emerging national university of Papua New Guinea (PNG) based in the provincial capital of Madang, providing training for Health Extension Officers (HEOs). HEOs form the backbone of healthcare delivery in PNG as clinicians, public health officers and health centre managers. Both campus-based and clinical teaching at the nearby Modilon Hospital is limited because of significant resource constraints.


This article describes a visiting clinical lecturer programme in which Australasian emergency physicians and emergency registrars deliver teaching to HEO students at DWU and Modilon Hospital.


Volunteer doctors are briefed pre-departure and given prepared educational tools. Visits are from 2 weeks to 3 months, and include the possibility of accredited training for emergency registrars through the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine. DWU provides secure accommodation and assistance with travel and visa logistics. Tasks for visiting lecturers include delivering campus-based teaching on emergency medicine (EM) topics, structured and opportunistic bedside tutorials, and clinical teaching and assistance with ED care alongside local EM clinicians.


Programme evaluation has relied on qualitative feedback, which has been positive from all stakeholders. Visiting lecturers gain teaching skills and insights into the challenges of emergency healthcare delivery in an international, resource-constrained setting. Local staff receive assistance and support as well as learning new teaching skills. Students receive increased interactive learning opportunities.


This programme provides positive models of both emergency care capacity building in a resource-constrained setting and training in international EM for Australasian clinicians.