PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has assured the Medical Society of Papua New Guinea
that the government will continue to maintain health as its top priority in the
Minister for Public Service Sir Puka Temu said this on behalf of Mr O’Neill during the official opening of the 50th medical symposium in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province on Sunday night.
Sir Puka attended the symposium on behalf of the Prime Minister who is away in Samoa for
the Small Islands Developing States forum and his Deputy Leo Dion who is also
away in East New Britain Province to assess the current situation in the
province following the recent volcanic eruption of Mount
Sir Puka announced that the Prime Minister had also given
his assurance that the government is committed to fully fund the current
National Health Plan 2011-2020.
Speaking also as the former Secretary for the Department of Health, Sir Puka said this assurance coming
directly from the Prime Minister, was a blessing in disguise.
"When we designed and structured the National Health Plan over ten years ago, we had
to go to the Treasurer, Finance Minister and Secretary for Finance &
Treasury to beg them for the actual amount needed for hospitals, medical
supplies & immunization, to fully maintain aid posts and to train village
health workers, however, they would always cut the funding to the bare minimum,"
Sir Puka said.
He reiterated the Prime Minister’s commitment in
pledging that the government would fully fund the National Health Plan 2011-2020
and verified that this positive outcome was a result of strong political will to
support this sector. "The Prime Minister and his Health Minister Michael Malabag
are very passionate about the improvement of this key sector.
"The O’Neill-Dion Government is not only talking but putting its money to work and
that is by improving the current health infrastructures. This government has
truly focused on the health sector as one its top priorities," Sir Puka
He said the government for the first time in 39 years is now
putting funding for hospital upgrades, medical equipment installation and
replacement & construction of provincial medical stores in order to supply
community aid posts.
"This government is not only looking at
development but it is also concerned about the health and well-being of the
common people. Therefore, it has approved the policy of free health care and has
subsidised specialist services, increased funding of medical supplies and making
more funds available through the health functional grants, hospital grants,
provincial health grants, church health grants, among others.
"In fact, 20 per cent of the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) fund is
dedicated to the health sector throughout the country," he said.
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