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Central Coast support for Australia's nearest neighbours

Renowned Neurosurgeon Dr Marc Coughlan and his team at Coastal Neurosurgery on the NSW Central Coast, are lending a helping hand to some of Australia’s nearest neighbours as part of the PNG Angels program.

A longstanding partnership, built on Dr Coughlan’s adventures to Papua New Guinea fishing and to hike the Kokoda trail, has resulted in the establishment of the registered charity whose mission is to meet Papua New Guinea’s neurosurgical needs through ongoing education and clinical training for Papua New Guineans.

“Saving lives is paramount but we are also focused on empowering local communities. Our vision is for a self-sufficient Papua New Guinea capable of meeting its own complex neurosurgical needs without international intervention in years to come,” said Dr Coughlan.

While the two countries are located within 4 kilometres of each other, the facilities, technology and standard of care is worlds apart.

Until now, the PNG Angels have predominantly focused on overseas missions to provide life-saving surgery and training, however in April Dr Coughlan will host Papua New Guinea’s first female Neurosurgeon, Dr Esther Apuahe, at Gosford Private Hospital for a week-long intensive training program.

“Our team has had the privilege of collaborating with Esther on surgical missions in PNG, and now, we're excited to bring Esther to Australia this April for an intensive week of education and training at Gosford Private Hospital. She will also be attending a cervical spine symposium and spine week in Sydney. This is all covered by our charity, PNG Angels,” said Dr Coughlan.

Gosford Private Hospital Chief Executive, Stephen Johnston, welcomed the opportunity to share the hospital’s expertise with the world, “this is a wonderful opportunity for Gosford Private staff to work alongside Dr Coughlan and Dr Apuahe, providing world-class training and showcasing the hospital’s best-in-class facilities and approach to patient care.”

In addition to the training for Dr Apuahe, fellow Papua New Guinea Neurosurgeon Dr Ben Thomas is currently in Sydney on a 12-month placement working alongside Dr Prakash Damodaran at Concord Repatriation Hospital and Nepean Hospital. Dr Thomas’ training will ensure that routine neurosurgical procedures will also be available to Papua New Guineans when required, without the need for international support.

If you would like to support the work of PNG Angels, please donate online at Further information about the work of Dr Coughlan and his team can be viewed here.