6 Aug 2008

US navy ship brings medical mercy to PNG

9:55 am on 6 August 2008

A New Zealand doctor particpating in a two-week programme providing free medical care in Papua New Guinea's capital says it's been very well received.

John Duncan is one of eight New Zealand medical personnel on board the US Navy ship Mercy, a former oil tanker converted into a hospital ship.

The ship docked in Port Moresby on Monday as part of the US relatinship with PNG under the Pacific Partnership.

The Mercy's 900 medical staff are working with personnel from Port Moresby General Hospital to provide medical help to a wide range of people with a variety of conditions.

This is the second consecutive year the ship has been to PNG and Surgeon Commander Duncan says their programmes are hugely popular:

"When we turned up at 8 o'clock this morning, there was a queue half way down the road. And that queue didn't stop. And when we turn up tomorrow morning there will be another queue that long. One person I saw may walk several hours or have to catch a ride from their home village because they know the Mercy's in town."