3 Oct 2014

Trained health workers needed in PNG

8:44 am on 3 October 2014

Researchers say there are not enough trained health workers in Papua New Guinea to deal with the rapidly growing problem of non-communicable diseases.

Staff at the University of Auckland's School of Population Health presented findings from projects they have been involved with in PNG.

Professor Chris Bullen has done research around how SMS text messages could help health workers in PNG manage the treatment of malaria, and hopes to look at how this might help with treatment of NCDs.

But he says health staff are currently overwhelmed and under-resourced to deal with non-communicable diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

"But it's happening in an accelerated fashion, on top of already a heavy burden of communicable diseases like malaria tuberculosis, etc. So they've really got their hands full. But there's been very little focus on the non-communicable diseases because most of their expertise has been dealing with the traditional infectious diseases."

Professor Bullen says the good work that's already being done with communicable diseases, needs to be incorporated with NCDs as well.