THE PNG Government remains committed to working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in addressing health challenges facing the country.
This was the message conveyed by Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Michael Malabag during his meeting with WHO regional director for Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo in Port Moresby last week Friday.
Mr Malabag said Dr Young-soo has been a strong supporter of PNG and an advocate on PNG’s behalf at the World Health Assembly. This is his third visit to PNG since taking office. He was in PNG at the launching of the current national health plan 2011-2020.
"We greatly appreciate the support that WHO has provided to the PNG Government for many years. Many challenges remain which we can address if we work together," Mr Malabag said.
"We encourage WHO to support the direction of the Government of PNG and be responsive to the National Department of Health."
Mr Malabag, during his briefing to the WHO regional chief, said the prevalence rate for TB in PNG is unacceptably high and includes the increasing presences of MDR-TB and 8 confirmed cases of XDR-TB in Western Province.
He said the Department of Health has established a task-force team that is reporting directly to the deputy secretary. He will response to this emergency and will continue to look at WHO to support the fight against TB. Mr Malabag said improving maternal and child health outcome is a key priority for government that requires WHO support. "Non communicable diseases are emerging quickly and will require quick government response if they are to be adequately addressed," Mr Malabag said. "We have made commitments to prepare a NCD roadmap for PNG and currently establishing a high level committee to oversee its development.
"We require technical assistance to support its development and in particular, support tobacco control measures to be finalised. "Disease outbreaks are of immediate concern and we look to WHO to support us in managing this crisis when they arise. We are presently facing measles outbreak which requires support, including on going assistance in the integrated management of child illness."
"A key concern of the PNG Government is the current HR arrangements with WHO and the management of technical assistance. "We want WHO to be responsive to our requests and direction. As an example, a former WHO advisor undertaking important work in maternal and child health was not continued by WHO despite our request for him to continue. Our local efforts to fund this position directly is a challenge and not financially sustainable for our government."