For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity

St John Association of Papua New Guinea

Who we are

The Order of St John was established officially in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s. The National St John Council of PNG was incorporated by an act of Parliament in 1976.

As of 2010, St John Papua New Guinea has 220 active adult volunteers and 135 members below the age of 15. Volunteers have collectively given 62,400 hours of service throughout the year.

Papua New Guinea at a glance

Papua New Guinea, officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands. It is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, in a region defined since the early 19th century as Melanesia. Its capital, and one of its few major cities, is Port Moresby. It is one of the most diverse countries on earth, with 860 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies, within an estimated population of just 6,310,129 (2012). It is also one of the most rural, with only 13% (estimated 2010) of its people living in urban centres. After being colonised by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia in 1975.

Approximately 85% of the population lives in traditional societies and practice subsistence-based agriculture. Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, but commercial exploitation has been hampered by the rugged terrain and the high cost of developing infrastructure.

The indigenous population of Papua New Guinea is one of the most heterogeneous in the world; PNG has several thousand separate communities, most with only a few hundred people; divided by language, customs, and tradition, some of these communities have engaged in low-scale tribal conflict with their neighbours for millennia; the advent of modern weapons and modern migrants into urban areas has greatly magnified the impact of this lawlessness.

In 2011, the country was ranked 153 out of 187 countries in the United Nations Development Index with a life expectancy of 63 years. PNG has the highest incidence of HIV and AIDS in the Pacific region and is the fourth country in the Asia Pacific region to fit the criteria for a generalised HIV and AIDS epidemic. Lack of HIV and AIDS awareness is a major challenge, especially in rural areas.

What we do

St John Ambulance Service

The service provides emergency response on a 24 hour basis in the national capital, Port Moresby which has a population of 307,643 (2009), East Spiek, and Provinces of Central, Oro and Madang. The National Capital District service has several emergency response ambulances, 4 mobile First Aid stations, one command & control communications bus and a vehicle.  A staff of 18 full time paid officers is supported by 12 regular volunteers and 34 part time volunteers and operates its own vehicle repair workshop.  In 2010 the service handled over 14,000 emergency response callouts.  The ambulance service operates in Wewak and Madang; one ambulance in each location with one full time officer and volunteers. St John Papua New Guinea also runs Emergency Medical Technician training.

St John Papua New Guinea also has an emergency rescue helicopter.

St John Emergency Communications centre

The centre handles the emergency calls from all over PNG for Police, Fire and Ambulance. The current number of calls being handled by the centre is about 1000 calls per day of which about 150 are police calls.  The centre has a team of 13 which includes an ambulance dispatcher.  

St John Education Service

The education service provides training in first aid at all levels to industry and government for a fee per person per course. It also trains volunteer instructors who carry out community first aid training in villages to increase the level of care at home and try and relieve some of the burden from the national health system.

In 2010, St John Papua New Guinea conducted the following First Aid courses:

  • Emergency First Aid
  • First Aid for the Elderly
  • Remote First Aid
  • First Aid at Sea
  • Automated External Defibrillator
  • CPR/Airway Management and Oxygen Therapy
  •  Treatment for Allergic Reactions/Anaphylaxis/Use of Epi-Pen

St John Blind Service

St John PNG runs a special education centre for the people with visual impairments. It trains clients in the skills required to take up a job or learning how to cope with living in the community. The service also under takes screening of school children and villages; in 2010 the service screened 6,000 people. The staff consist of a Director and two special education teachers funded by the education department and three support staff paid by St John plus five volunteers working at the eye clinic assisting with eye glass repairs, eye testing, and minor operations.  

St John Blood Service

St John operates the blood service on behalf of the Department of Health in 28 locations throughout PNG.  Funding is provided by the Department of Health(NDoH). The service currently has about 30,000 blood donors and are aiming to increase to 50,000. The service is supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in training and technical support.

St John Health Service

St John PNG on the first of January 2007 took on the responsibility of managing the second largest government medical facility in the Capital, Port Moresby, known as the St John Health Centre, Gerehu. The centre has a current staff of 12 St John personnel and 18 Health Department personnel handling between 600-800 patients per day. The hospital will provide the following services: outpatients; a TB/HIV clinic; a maternity Ward; Accident & Emergency Department; two 20 bed wards; an ante-natal clinic; a 'Well baby' programme; family planning services; and eye clinic; dentistry and pathology and X-ray. In 2010, the hospital treated 276,000 patients.

St John Volunteer Service (Operations Branch)

This was previously the Operations Branch which recruits volunteers for the purpose of training volunteers to be able to support the above services. The Volunteer Service is actively involved in providing First Aid stations at sporting public events.  Included within the Volunteer Service is a strong Cadet programme that trains young people in various skills, character building, and a strong sense of citizenship.


The association is part of the Government Disaster/Emergency Response Programme. In 2010, it provided Cholera treatment centres, oral dehydration centres, dedicated ambulance services and Cholera education programmes to the health community and general community during the Cholera outbreak.

In 2010, St John Papua New Guinea also ran a Low Voltage Rescue Principles course, a vocational training course for blind children and provided a library service in hospitals.