Papua New Guinea

International Emergency Medicine

Papua New Guinea Medical Project
(1996 - Present)


A dire lack of basic health care currently exists in large parts of the island nation of Papua New Guinea. Through the collaboration of Stanford University students and faculty with the indigenous people of the Sepik River Basin and the Central Highlands, we are establishing a system of health care stations along the Sepik River and in the Enga highlands. Our projects endeavor to build enduring and committed relationships with the communities in these areas via small, reproducible health care delivery programs. Ultimately, our goal is to create an independent healthcare system - fully staffed, supported, and sustained by the local villages, with no need for outside influence or direction. Not only does this PNG project provide an invaluable learning experience for Stanford students, housestaff, and faculty; but it has provided crucial medical service for the people native to this region.


There are three primary components of the medical project. The medical component includes establishing clinics along the Sepik River Basin and in the Enga Highlands. Volunteers stock and manage the clinics directly along side the local healthcare providers and trainees. The extreme needs of these regions provide students and residents with invaluable experience in developing clinical intuition and resourcefulness without the aid of modern laboratory and radiographic assistance. The medical project strives to deliver the best possible medical care to an area in extreme need, and to combine this with the highest standards of scientific investigation, for the continual health care improvement of the local communities.

The other components are more sustainable, and are educational in nature. While the project falls into the realm of preventative medicine, it provides interested students with a course curriculum at Stanford, focusing on tropical medicine and international healthcare. Most importantly, it facilitates the training of village health aids in Papua New Guinea to care for their own communities. The PNGMP programs empower the village medics to care for the people without compromising their independence. This long-term relationship and commitment has provided an opportunity for interested Stanford pre-medical and medical students, as well as housestaff, to serve in the setting of international health/tropical medicine.


Getting Better: The Stanford - Papua New Guinea Medical Project
(Stanford Magazine) [Nov/Dec 2001]
Spreading Health: A Stanford Medical Project nurtures a Sustainable Health Care System
(Stanford Medicine 19:1) [Winter 2002]


For more information email: Papua New Guinea Medical Project