The training of Papua New Guineans as health workers began in the early 1930s when the country was under Australian Administration. The first twelve Papuans were sent, in 1933, to Sydney to learn about the structure of the human body. In 1960, the Papuan Medical College (PMC) at Taurama was established as the first health workers’ training institution in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea (TPNG).
The Papuan Medical College was tasked to train doctors, preservice nurses, medical assistants, medical/hospital orderlies, nurse aides, physiotherapists, and even preschool teachers. The Papuan Medical College then became the Faculty of Medicine of The University of Papua New Guinea in 1971-1972. In the early 1990s, the Faculty of Health Sciences was established. With the decline in government funding in the late 1990s, the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Health Sciences were amalgamated into the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
The implementation of the restructure in January 2001 resulted in the establishment of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). In July 2010, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences celebrated the 50th year of this great institution’s history. At Present, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences comprises several divisions and conducts a number of undergraduate and postgraduate degree and diploma programs.
The major Divisions are Clinical Sciences, Basic Medical Sciences, Pathology, Public Health, Dentistry, Nursing, and Health Sciences. Under the latter Divisions are disciplines including Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Sciences, and Medical Imaging Sciences.
To be the premier medical and health services training institution in the South Pacific Region, equipping future leaders in health services with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to meet the health needs of the nation’s rural and urban communities.
To provide a comprehensive and caring learning environment that encourages student growth in knowledge, expertise, and ethical practice relevant to the building of a healthy and robust society.
To meet the increasing health needs in Papua New Guinea, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences will increase its intake of medical students and all other health worker categories over the next 5 and 10 years, while maintaining a high-quality learning environment, and a special emphasis on preparation for work in rural areas.
Professor Nakapi Tefuarani