It is mandatory that each trekker complete a medical check before trekking Kokoda and visiting PNG. A doctor must certify that the trekker is physically fit and medically cleared to do Kokoda Trail. Failure to get medical clearance may result in the cancellation of the trip. We email trekkers with the forms which needs to be completed emailed back to us when completed by a doctor, together with copies of passport, travel insurance and return flight itinerary if booking your own flight.
We offer a variety of treks and tour with varying intensity levels, and are happy to discuss the best option to suit your unique goals, fitness level, and priorities.
Our Guides and Porters are trained in Basic and Wilderness First Aid, and carry first aid kits on all our treks and tours. It’s also advisable for trekkers to bring along a small personal first aid kit for treatment of minor ailments, or a specific personal medical condition. See the checklist section of what to pack in your personal first aid kit.
IMMUNISATION & HEALTH HAZARDS
Although no vaccinations are required for entry into PNG, it’s important to discuss your trip with your doctor for advice on any inoculations or booster shots if you’re not up to date. Please make sure this is done several weeks before your trek in case you need to schedule treatments in advance.
Although the Kokoda Trail is challenging, it is not overly dangerous. The most common health hazards in PNG and on the Kokoda Trail are Dehydration, Heat Stroke, and Malaria.
Malaria is a fairly common tropical ailment transmitted by malarial-infected mosquitoes which only bite at night. Mosquitoes are present in the warmer, lower-altitude areas of PNG, and large parts of the Kokoda Trail situated at high altitudes where it’s colder are mosquito-free. However, it is wise to take anti-malarial medication when doing the Kokoda as malaria can be very serious. Kokoda Trail Expeditions will provide you with a tent that has a fly screen to keep mosquitoes off. One of your best defences is wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts in the evenings and at night, and regularly using tropical strength mosquito repellent to cover any exposed skin.
Hyponatraemia is a potentially fatal medical complication of ultra-distance exercise, and there has been a prevalence of exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH) on the Kokoda Trail. Research by Dr Sean Rothwell and Dr David Rosengren in 2010, in conjunction with the Kokoda Trail Authority, found that the Kokoda Trail is a safe and fantastic experience for most trekkers, and only a small number of trekkers can become susceptible to fatal EAH.
The following measures may help you prevent a potential EAH:
- Treat associated conditions that may contribute to low blood sodium;
- Educate yourself and beware of the signs and symptoms;
- Take precautions during trekking periods of high intensity by drinking only as much fluid as you lose;
- Consider drinking sports drinks containing electrolytes such as Gatorade; and
- Drink water in moderation by taking in sufficient daily fluid intake and not overdoing it.