PNG PG Medical Training: What can we learn from our “Taciqu’s” (brothers and sister) in Fiji?

In my last post I commented on PG clinical training in PNG and explained that currently the much under-resourced University of PNG is the only institution providing training and setting the only national benchmark in all medical training PNG.

I also suggested that a way forward for PG medical training would be for individual profession bodies (Surgeons, Physicians, Paediatrician, General Practitioners etc) to set their own PG training programs and take the responsibility from the UPNG.

These professional associations can establish specialist colleges akin to the existing colleges within the Asia Pacific Region and worldwide.

The draft Medical Practice and Registration Bill provides available from the PNG Medical Board website, specifically paragraph 24 – outline the proposed regulation for such PG Medical colleges (“Educational Institutes”) and provides a good platform for discussion on ways forward.  While the regulation of such “educational institution” as outlined in this bill will be vested on the Medical Board, the actual training programs, quality assurances and curriculum, (in essence the nuts and bolts) of the PG training is best developed and set by the professional bodies themselves.

Browsing through the internet today I was quite impressed to come across the Fiji College of General Practitioners which apparently has been established for about 20 years now.  Unfortunately their website could not be opened for some reason but I did manage to download a flyer advertising their 20th Annual Scientific meeting which will be held in June 2012.  The Fiji College of GP – Annual Scientific Meeting – June 2012

I know very little about Fiji, and the western media tends to paint a dark picture about the political climate there, but despite this, their medical education is not only keeping its head above water but seems to be thriving very well.  It would be interesting to find out more about this impressive college and how PNG and other South Pacific Island Countries can learn from their experience.  I was especially impressed by the CME program that they offered and the calibre of topics that they would be discussing during their annual scientific meeting in June.

I ended my last post by saying:

“It is inevitable that the future of post-graduate medical training in PNG will  shift way from UPNG to individual professional bodies.

It will be interesting to see which professional body will be the first to get organised and set up credible post-graduate and continuing professional development programs worthy of recognition by the Papua New Guinea Medical Board”.

Specialist groups in PNG wishing to establish a specialist college can only benefit from finding out more about the Fiji College of GPs and overall medical training in Fiji.  In the future there may be a case for establishing South Pacific Colleges that can serve our collective purposes, this concept will off-course evolve slowly over time.

About Dr. Poyap J Rooney

Dr. Rooney is a medical doctor who has gained both his undergraduate medical degree and more recently his post graduate masters degree in clinical biochemistry at the University of Papua New Guinea.
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