Where we work

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is one of the least urbanised countries in the world. Just 13 per cent of the population live in urban areas, and close to 40 per cent live below the poverty line.

What are the eye health problems?

The rate of blindness and low-vision in Papua New Guinea is the highest in the Pacific. A national survey carried out in 2017 found an estimated 5.6 per cent of adults aged over 50 were blind, and two out of every three people with refractive error did not have the right glasses. The most common cause of blindness and visual impairment is still cataracts.

Due to low levels of education and literacy and restricted communication networks, there's a widespread lack of understanding about health problems and the benefits of health care and medical treatments. Many people don’t realise they have an eye problem or that they can get treatment.

Our work in Papua New Guinea

For the past 13 years, we've worked with local eye care and health organisations, the National Department of Health, and provincial health authorities to tackle avoidable blindness.

Papua New Guinea should have at least 90 eye doctors, yet currently, there are only 12. We are committed to working with our partners to help meet the critical shortage. In 2007 we set up eye nurse training in partnership with Divine Word University, with a total of 120 graduates to date.

Since 2007 we've managed the Madang Eye Clinic at Madang Provincial Hospital in Madang Province. The clinic provides comprehensive eye care services and surgery. We also provide eye care services to rural populations through regular outreaches.

The team get together to discuss the programme for the day, which will involve consultations, surgeries and follow-ups.
Nurse Lorraine Kuba performs a post operative eye test at Madang Eye Clinic

Progress in sight

In Papua New Guinea, there are:

  • 12 active Foundation-supported eye doctors (of which 2 are Foundation-sponsored graduates)
  • 4 Foundation-sponsored trainee eye doctors
  • 94 active Foundation-supported eye nurses and eye care clinicians (of which 90 are Foundation-sponsored graduates)
  • 130 Foundation-sponsored eye nurse and eye care clinician graduates

    2023 Key Highlights

    • 2 trainee eye-doctors completed a further year of study towards a Master of Medicine in Ophthalmology from the University of Papua New Guinea
    • 10 eye nurses graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Eye Care from Divine Word University
    • 11,767 consultations provided
    • 1,104 sight-saving surgeries performed.
    • 2,155 spectacles were dispensed.
    • 24 outreaches made eye care services accessible to communities across PNG.
    • 8 eye care professionals participated in Advanced Gender Equality and Diversity (GED) Training
    • 2 eye nurses completed a Bachelor of Health Management from Divine Word University
    • 1 eye nurse completed a Master of Leadership in Development from Divine Word University

    Where we work

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