Welcome to Near Neighbours

ADI’s Podcast

About PNG

Papua New Guinea in the southwestern Pacific Ocean It encompasses the eastern half of New Guinea, the world’s second-largest island (the western half is made up of the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua); the Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain, New Ireland, the Admiralty Islands, and several others); Bougainville and Buka (part of the Solomon Islands chain); and small offshore islands and atolls. The national capital, Port Moresby, is located in south-eastern New Guinea on the Coral Sea.

The islands that constitute Papua New Guinea were settled over a period of 40,000 years by the mixture of peoples who are referred to as Melanesians. Since the country achieved independence in 1975, one of its principal challenges has been the difficulty of governing many hundreds of diverse, once-isolated local societies as a viable single nation.

Australian Doctors International (ADI) is a not-for-profit focused on improving the health and wellbeing of rural Papua New Guineans while working in close collaboration with local health authorities and health providers to strengthen the health system.  

Our vision is a healthier Papua New Guinea.

This year we begin our countdown to providing 20 years of continuous health service to the people of PNG.

We operate only in PNG and are proud of our commitment to the country.

Quality primary health care (PHC) is the backbone of Universal Health Coverage and creates trust in public institutions. ADI is committed to championing and working with our partners in PNG empowering the people of PNG to build health systems that will improve the health of their population.

ADI closely aligns its activities with the priorities of the PNG National Department of Health and Provincial Health Authorities to ensure health priorities are addressed. 

ADI volunteer doctors are deployed alongside staff to work in collaboration with the local health workforce and partners to deliver: 

  • Regular outreach health patrols to rural and remote communities. 
  • Professional development of rural health workers in key priority areas.
  • Public health education to increase community understanding of preventing disease. 
  • Improve access to health and wellbeing for women and girls.
  • Improved community understanding of gender equity, child safeguarding, and inclusion of people with disabilities.

ADI first established its activities in the North Fly District of Western Province in 2001 and expanded its reach to New Ireland in 2011 and West New Britain in 2019. ADI now has 12 staff in PNG and plans for expanding the PNG provincial teams in the coming year.

Season 1

Episode 1: Dr. Peter Macdonald

Peter is the founder of Australian Doctors International (ADI) he was a general practitioner in Manly for more than 25 years and served on Manly Council for 20 years including four years as the Mayor. His commitment to environmental and public health concerns led to him becoming an active and effective Member of Parliament between 1991 and 1999. He then volunteered with Medecins sans Frontiers and was deployed to Iran and later with Timor Aid in East Timor. He retired from medical practice on 2019 and is still heavily involved in community affairs.

Episode 2: Dr. Chris McCall

Dr. Chris McCall was a foreign correspondent, writing at various times for Reuters, The Economist, Agence France-Presse and few other bits and pieces you might know of. Then something possessed him to re-train as a doctor. Now he finds himself in Papua New Guinea as a volunteer doctor with ADI, based in Kiunga, Western Province. Most of the time these days he is a remote area GP in far-flung parts of Australia. He likes languages, strange places, taking photos and speaks French, Spanish and Malay/Indonesian in addition to his native English. His patients mostly call him Chris, or if being really formal, ‘Dr. Chris’.

Episode 3: Sean Dorney

Sean C Dorney AO MBE CSM FAIIA is an Australian journalist, foreign correspondent, and writer with an extensive career covering the Pacific with a particular focus on Papua New Guinea. He was the Pacific and PNG Correspondent of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on and off from 1975 to 2014.

Episode 4: Roxanne Pouru & Steven Gagau

Roxanne Pouru is a PNG/Melanesia living and working in Sydney. She is a part-time student in Urban and Rural Planning. She is interested in strategic infrastructure planning and she hopes to one day work in this field. Roxanne is the current President of Sydney Wantok Association, a voluntary and community-based organisation in Sydney, NSW. She aims to connect Sydney Wantok Association and its members with NGOs in Australia to work towards contributing to health and development projects in PNG rural areas.

Steven Gagau is a researcher, cultural and community consultant with the University of Sydney, Australia. His role involves developing strategies and implementing community-led engagements and building relationships between communities and the University’s archives and museums on curation of ethnographic materials of history, culture, language, and music in the Oceania/Pacific Region. Steven has a background in engineering science (MSc), business management and now works in social sciences (ethnography and sociology). He is a PNG/Melanesia diaspora community leader, Past President Sydney Wantok Association, affiliated with the Pacific Communities and Multicultural NSW communities’ and various professional bodies, voluntary and community- based organisations.