The new Medical Board of Papua New Guinea was sworn in on Thursday, witnessed by Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Elias Kapavore.
It was in the National Gazette a day before and comprised of eight members.
They are Health Secretary Pascoe Kase, who is appointed by the Minister and represents the National Department of Health; Dr Noah Tapaua, Senior Specialist at Port Moresby General Hospital (Specialist Medical Practitioners); Professor Nakapi Tefuarani , Executive Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences – UPNG (School of Medicine and Health Sciences- UPNG); Dr Paki Charles Molumi, Executive Member of the Medical Society (Medical Society); Dr Mark Paul, Executive Member of the Medical Society (Medical Society); Dr Paul Sali , Specialist Dental Practitioner (PNG Dental Profession); Dr Russel Kitau, Health Extension Officer (Health Extension Officers Association); Rev. Roger Joseph, Prominent Lay Person (Communities, Churches and Civil Society).
Mr Kapavore said the Medical Board was set up under the Medical Registration Act of 1980 so it was time to review the act.
He said the Government was facing many health challenges and commended the previous board for its efforts in addressing some of these challenges, and the new board would be taking up those that were left behind.
Among these issues is the competency level of graduates coming out of medical schools and other training institutions so that they do not just get degrees but are able to perform.
“Our graduates must be competent to face the health challenges wherever they are,’’ he said.
He said Divine Word University currently has medical students in year four but he was not sure whether it’s accreditated and urged the board to visit the university and sort this out quickly.
“It’s not about putting our interests ahead of the country. We must make sure that they are competent to serve the people and the country.’’
Mr Kapavore said the Government also wants to revisit the proposal on the standalone university for the training of health workforce, made by the former National Executive Council.
Also, he said the Prime Minister James Marape wants the country to have universal health coverage by 2024 – a year before the country celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Meanwhile, Deputy Health Secretary, National Health Standards, Dr Paison Dakulala has reminded the new members that health work is a honourable profession and challenged them to do their best in serving the people.
Dr Sali is going to be on the board for the 10th year and says this is a voluntary job.
Thus, the health professionals on the board often put aside their commitments such as running their clinics (if they are in private practice) to perform their duties as members of the board.
Chairman of the board is Professor Tefuarani.
Photo caption: New board members of the Medical Board are pictured with Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Elias Kapavore, and staff of the Secretariat .