Sopas District Hospital in Wabag is located on the Highlands Highway, Enga Province of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Its elevation is 5,000 feet making it cool (non humid) all year round.
Because of its remoteness, and independent governance, it receives very little medical help from the rest of PNG. Sopas district hospital is 45 minutes drive on the Highlands Highway North West of Wapenamanda airport in Mondop. It is also 2 hours drive direct East of Kairik airport, Porgera.
The population of Enga Province is 250,000. Most of the population are subsistence farmers. Sopas District Hospital and Wabag General Hpspital are the two public hospital serving this entire population.
Dr Elvis Japhleth is the head surgeon (and only surgeon) at Sopas Hospital, Wanbag. He is quite accomplished in general, orthopaedic and urological surgery. There is also one surgical registrar Dr Max Pangali. There are two gynaecologists, Dr Antonia Kumbai and Dr Grace Raire. The director of medical services Dr Kanandro has had was previously an ENT registrar. The hospital has urologist. There are no anaesthetists, but there are two Anaesthetic Scientific Officers (ASO), who provide general anaesthesia. The charge nurse is Rose Philip. There are 8 registered nurses.
There is a single main operating theatre, and a second minor operations room. Currently there is one working anaesthetic machine although the automated belies has malfunctions and ventilation is done manually.
Plain xray, barium enema and ultrasound are available. There is no images intensifier.
There is no cystoscopy, laparoscopy or endoscopy facilities, and this is one of the biggest needs that DAISI has identified at this hospital.
DAISI staff receive free accommodation and meals on site at Sopas District hospital.
A lot of the concerns about tribal fighting are over exaggerated. The tribal fights, when they occur, do not involve non tribal people, and the hospital compound is considered a tribal warfare free zone. The hospital compound has a perimeter barb wire fence and security guard at the entrance 24 hours. DAISI has a Memorandun of Understanding with the Enga Provincial Health Authority (EPHA). In this regard, EPHA guarantee the protection of DAISI volunteers to Sopas District Hospital. All DAISI volunteers are pick up from the Wapenamanda airport by Dr Elvis Japhlet and Dr Max Pangali and securely escorted by convoy (two Toyota 4-wheel drive) to Sopas District Hospital, where all accommodation and food is provided free of charge.
Sopas District hospital in Wabag is located 45 minutes drive North-West on the Highlands Highway from Wapenamanda airport in Mondop or 2 hours drive from Mt Hagen (Kagamuga) airport.
Wapenamanda Airport located just outside of Mondop is right next to the Highlands Highway.
Wapenamanda airport, Mondop (elevation 5,000 feet)
Air Niugini and Airlines of Papua New Guinea both provide flights from Port Moresby that depart in the morning (usually 8:45am and 10:30am). Direct flight via Air Niugini from Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Auckland are available.
Mt Hagen Airport (elevation 5,388 feet)
The much larger Mt Hagen (Kagamuga) airport is 2 hours drive from Sopas District Hospital. This airport is also right next to the Highlands Highway. Mt Hagen (Kagamuga) airport has a hanger for safe keeping of smaller planes. It has 3 direct flights from Port Moresby every day. Air Niugini flights from Brisbane depart daily with a 85-150 minute stop over in Port Moresby.
Kairik airport, Porgera is the other option. This landing is not for the faint-hearted and it is a treacherous 2 hour drive from Sopas Mission Hospital.
Kairik airport, Porgera. (Elevation 7,280 feet)
Air Nuigini operates daily services to Mt Hagen airport from Port Moresby with larger Fokker 100 aircraft. Smaller planes (Dash 8 & twin otter) are able to land at Wapenamanda airport.