IN a span of 15 years, public health indicators have not shown any significant improvement since the establishment of the provincial health authority (PHA) system, an official says.
Health Department public health deputy secretary Ken Wai said the PHA system was established in 2007 to provide public health services and curative services from the premises of provincial hospitals, however better outcomes were needed.
“There are some improvements in the incidence of malaria, but tuberculosis (TB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are a major worry because they have increased significantly,” he said.
“The numbers are increasing and the picture does not look good.
“Such picture is a time bomb.
“Immunisation is still very low and is not encouraging with measles, pertussis or polio causing major outbreaks and deaths.
“(Immunisation) coverages at 42-43 per cent is too low.
“Our expected national target is supposed to be above 95 per cent.
“There is not much attention to public health, health promotion and awareness are not done in the communities, therefore communicable diseases are increasing in large numbers,” he said. Wai said this during the PHA chairman and chief executive officer annual forum in Port Moresby yesterday.
He said PHAs needed to take a holistic approach to address the issues in the public health sector of their respective authorities.
“The public health wing of the Health Department encourages all PHAs to give priority to public health programmes such as health promotion, family health programmes, including immunisation, and do more to reduce the incidence of TB, HIV and malaria and other diseases in the communities.
“We also encourage you to promote partnerships with the communities and encourage them to take ownership of their own health by practising healthy behaviour, promote hygiene and sanitation programmes, eat healthy foods and promote mental and oral health.
“To help the provinces, the public health wing of the Health Department plans to conduct regional workshops to roll out public health strategies for the National Health Plan 2021-2030.
“We are planning to combine two regions and conduct these workshops in Port Moresby next month,” he said.
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