Papua New Guinea
Recommended vaccinations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all travellers to Papua New Guinea:
Recommended vaccinations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for some travellers to Papua New Guinea:
Other diseases to consider while travelling to Papua New Guinea:
Papua New Guinea is an island nation in Oceania, north of Australia. The country doesn’t top many people’s must-visit lists (though we don’t understand why) and the green wildernesses of the island have been vastly untouched by modern human development. Instead, PNG is home to a massive 750 tribes who live in the jungle and still practise their ancient traditions. As such, Papua New Guinea may be one of the last places on earth where you can truly stray from the well-trodden path.
There are many different routes and paths through the heart of Papua New Guinea, but perhaps the most popular form of exploration is to take a boat along the Sepik river. Like stepping back through the aeons, many traditional villages pop into sight between the trees, and the locals are friendly and will be eager to share their customs (and delicious cuisine) with you. If you prefer tough hiking, the historic Kokoda Track is known for its rugged nature but also as a place where many Australians and Japanese fought and died in WW2. It’s not an easy hike – people spend months preparing for it. For something different, head below the waves to Papua New Guinea’s awesome aquatic landscapes, home to multitudes of fish, WW2 wreckages and other stunning diving opportunities.
The Papua New Guinea government may require proof of polio vaccination when you are leaving the country if you are have stayed in Papua New Guinea for more than 4 weeks. To meet this requirement, you should receive a polio vaccine between 4 weeks and 12 months before the date you are leaving Papua New Guinea. Talk to your doctor about whether this requirement applies to you.
Once vaccinated, your doctor should provide you with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) yellow card. This will serve as your official documentation of vaccination against polio.
Medical facilities in Papua New Guinea are very basic. Hospitals often run out of basic drugs/supplies and suffer from power shortages. Evacuation by air ambulance to Australia is available in more serious cases. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya
There is a risk of Zika virus transmission in Papua New Guinea. Cases of Dengue Fever and Chikungunya have also been reported in the country. You should take the necessary precautions to avoid being bitten my mosquitoes.
The Papua New Guinea Secretary of the National Department of Health has declared an outbreak of Polio in Morobe, Madang, and Eastern Highlands provinces and Port Moresby. Cases have been confirmed in Port Moresby, Morobe and Enga provinces with reports of several more. Travellers should ensure that they are up-to-date on their routine polio immunisations before embarking on their trip to Papua New Guinea.
Serious crime is particularly high in the capital, Port Moresby, and in the cities of Lae and Mt Hagen. Settlement or squatter areas of towns and cities are particularly dangerous. ’Bush knives’ (machetes) and firearms are often used in assaults and thefts. Carjacking, assault (including sexual assaults), bag snatching and robberies are common. Banks and cash machines are attractive targets for criminals. Walking after dark is particularly dangerous in Port Moresby and other urban centres.
Known high-risk crime areas include the area around Parliament House in the Port Moresby suburb of Waigani, particularly outside of working hours, and along the highway between Lae and Nadzab Airport. Criminals use roadblocks outside towns to stop and loot vehicles and then attack the occupants. If you intend to travel in these areas, take great care and consider using a security escort.
Outbreaks of tribal fighting are common across Papua New Guinea, especially in Port Moresby, the Highlands provinces, Hela and Enga provinces. Ethnic disputes can quickly escalate and lead to widespread destruction of property, disruption of normal services and serious injury. Stay alert, monitor local media and consult local contacts, (accommodation or other service providers) before travelling to a new area. Tribal fighters and criminals are becoming increasingly well-armed, including military-grade weaponry. Although foreigners are not normally targeted, you should avoid areas where tribal fighting is taking place.
If you have to travel at night, do so by car, with doors locked and windows up, and travel in convoy or with a security escort.
Most crime is random, but people have been abducted by organised gangs and forced to open office safes while others are held captive until the ransom has been paid.
Rape and sexual assault are problems across the country.
- don’t carry large amounts of cash or openly display expensive jewellery and electronic equipment
- be vigilant at all times and leave travel plans with friends, relatives or reliable local contacts
Driving is on the left. When driving, you must keep your international driving licence with you at all times. Roads, especially in rural areas, are in a poor state of repair and driving is often erratic. Drivers who are involved in, or witness road accidents may find themselves at personal risk. You should seek police assistance as soon as possible.
Don’t use public buses known locally as PMVs. There have been incidents of armed hold-ups of PMVs and of passengers being attacked and robbed of their personal belongings. There have also been reports of occasional rape attacks on Port Moresby PMVs. Many PMVs are not roadworthy.
Taxis are available in some major centres, but can be badly maintained. If you use a taxi, agree a fare before getting setting off, irrespective of whether or not there is a meter. Where possible arrange to be met by family, friends or a hotel courtesy bus when arriving at international or domestic airports.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.