My Highland Hustle

Stories from the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

The Enga province of Papua New Guinea is a remote location home to the estimated 500,000 people. Enga boasts natural resources, fertile land and is so culturally unique with many communities still untouched by Western Influence. However, the Engan people face daily problems typical of most developing nations; high unemployment, widespread malnutrition and horrendous violence.

This is a blog describing the experience of junior doctor working in Kompiam District Hospital in the Enga Province.

Kompiam District Hospital, Enga Provience, Papua New Guinea.

TLDR: PNG Highland History

The PNG highlands were assumed to be uninhabited until Mick Leahy flow over 1933. An untouched people group and fertile land was found. 2 groups of people shortly followed Mr Leahy into the highlands, Miners and Missionaries. Both group are still working in the highlands to this day. Missionaries have set up many Hospitals, of which the health system in rural PNG is dependent.

About the Author

My name is Ryan, I am a Doctor from Australia. I grew up in a small town of Naracoorte, in the South East of South Australia. I completed my medical studies in Adelaide, South Australia and then moved to Cairns in Far North Queensland, for the start of my professional career. I am interested in Rural Medicine and Third World Medicine.

I have multiple motivations for going to work in the Highlands. My main motivation is that I believe that Jesus is real and that he does, not only care and love me, but that he loves all people. It is very hard to simultaneously comprehend Jesus’ universal love and be comfortable with the poverty bordering our country. This is part of me taking Jesus’ claims and teachings seriously. I am also motivated professionally as this opportunity will increase my clinical skills, independence and problem solving ability.

For more about the Kompiam Hospital or to donate, go to http://kompiamhospital.org/

To contact me directly, my email is ragnew107@gmail.com


Kompiam from the West, Hospital complex making up the majority of the pictured infrastructure.

Pilot : Kompiam District Health Service


Kompiam from the North

Episode 1: Place belong yu?


My cottage

Episode 2: Surprise Bananas


Kompiam from the East

Episode 3: The Anaemic Blood Bank



Episode 4: I fought the Law and the Law won


Kompiam From the West

Episode 5: Scene Change and Sea Change


Aitape Beach

Episode 6 : Lockdown in Aitape



Episode 7 : Bread and Fish


Bogia with a volcanically active island in the background. Photo taken from HMPNGS Moresby

Episode 8 : Nuns, None and Nil


The Crew of the HMPNGS Morsesby and I

Episode 9 : Saving Private Ryan


“The Lost Rambos”

Filmed in Kompiam, this short film roughly documents some of the story surrounding the 2017-18 tribal fight. May give you some insights as to the background of the region. The fight has since finished, but we still often see smaller tribal related conflicts.


Episode 10 : Medicine that is Worse than the Disease


Below is a piece published in the Lancet regarding COVID in the developing world.



Episode 11 : Bellmummas



Episode 12 : Lets Hope it is TB


A man carrying firewood to sell at the Kompiam Market

A few local news articles regarding the Church Health Workers payment.

http://www.looppng.com/national-news/christian-health-services-unpaid-salaries-93124

https://www.thenational.com.pg/4000-plus-church-health-workers-waiting-to-be-paid/#:~:text=MORE%20than%204%2C000%20health%20workers,than%20four%20months%2C%20officials%20say.&text=He%20urged%20the%20Government%20to,schools%20from%202017%20to%202020.


The Sow River, which runs past Kompiam

Episode 13 : Banus Bagarap


Below is a link to a recent article regarding HIV and access to Antiretroviral therapy in PNG.

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-20/why-dont-hiv-drugs-work-on-some-people-in-png/12361846



Episode 14 : The Road to Aragula


The track to Aragula

The formal document released by Christian Health Services PNG on Friday the 3/7/20 regarding the Hospital funding issue.


Episode 15 : Masta


A couple of links re domestic violence in PNG

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-09/boxer-beaten-by-ex-in-png-calls-for-end-to-domestic-violence/12332108

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-04/murder-of-19yo-png-mum-sparks-uprising-against-domestic-violence/12412656


“Bubu Mei”

The inspirational story of Dr Lin Clavert, a missionary in the Gulf Province of PNG.


Clinical Cases

These are a collection of some of the case write ups written in a more clinical manner.


Don’t Follow My Blog

This does not work, so don’t bother. I aim to post an update every second week or so, just check in every now and then.

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