Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has announced a K42.7 billion health intervention programme for the next 10-15 years in Papua New Guinea.
He made the announcement when addressing the 56th Medical Symposium of the Medical Society of PNG in Port Moresby, with the theme, ‘ICT in COVID-19 Pandemic, Education and Research’.
“Our Government has committed to a K42.7 billion 10–15-year programme of interventions in the health sector,” PM Marape said.
“These interventions must be made correctly, in the correct places, so that small steps are being worked upon for the collective dreams of the country going forward.
“It calls upon every one of us to work together, and at this juncture, let me thank those of you who have played your part for our country to be where it is today.
“I bring to you our total commitment to ensure that our National Health Plan is financed to the best of our ability, and we can together work to ensure that the standard of health is better for our people to benefit from going forward.”
PM Marape said his Government was putting its money where its mouth was with the biggest-ever allocation of K2.8 billion to Health in the 2022 Budget.
“Our Government is committed to making health our major focus,” he said.
“You cannot find a better place to read Government policy than every year’s annual appropriations.
“In the last annual appropriation, Health sector received the highest-ever presented to any sector, since 1975.
“Health has always come behind infrastructure and education, but we have turned this around, with Health receiving the highest.”
PM Marape said COVID-19 had awoken PNG to the ailing state of health facilities throughout the country.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed our vulnerability that we have been carrying all along,” he said.
“How can a nation of 10 million people have only 200 ICU beds nationwide?
“Of the 200 ICU beds nationwide, only 40 had oxygen and ventilation, 26 of which were in Port Moresby.
“I was dumfounded and I was stunned, I was embarrassed.
“Having been a politician since 2007, I felt that I had let the country down in a very big way.”
PM Marape said PNG must “leapfrog” in ICT and his Government was prepared to make substantial investment in this.
He urged all medical practitioners to look into the National Health Plan 2021-2030, which he launched last year, and recommend ways to improved PNG’s health system based on research.
PM Marape also talked about the need for PNG patients to be treated in-country than going overseas and for quality health services to be just one-hour away.
He said his Government was committed to supporting medical research.
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