PNG's POMIO MP Elias Kapavore says the future of the country’s health sector is bleak unless major needs for preventative public health, family planning, improved nutrition and the increasing workforce are met.
Addressing a University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) graduation ceremony for the school of medicine and health sciences in Port Moresby last week, Kapavore noted that the country’s annual rate of population increases was three per cent.
“In PNG, non-communicable diseases have exploded onto the scene over the last 50 years, but infectious diseases are still rampant and are accompanied by the major problem of antibiotic resistance,” he said.
“The current health system is stretched beyond its capacity.
“Over many years, there have been demands to increase the output of health workers to meet the current attrition rates due to retirement, and the requirements of a rapidly growing population with increasingly complex health problems.”
The national health workforce for Government-run health facilities consists of 17,878 positions, of which only 9,985 or 56 per cent are occupied.
Kapavore said these statistics indicated the need to train and recruit more health workers.
For someone who had spent 23 years in the health sector before joining politics, Kapavore said he had a personal understanding of the trials and frustrations faced by all health workers in environments which were often difficult.
He stressed that having a sound and relevant Government, laws, regulations and policies would contribute to productivity.
“As former provincial health authority (PHA) chief executive officer, I am very concerned of how the PHAs are being managed and governed,” he said.
The National / PNG Health Watch
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