New direction needed in health sector: Doctor

The numerous health issues and setbacks in PNG suggest that the health sector needs a new direction and planning, says the National Doctors Association president.

“In the year APEC 2018, whilst schools were running low on resources, the government kept saying it was taking control of the situations, and yet, schools continued to face problems,” said Dr James Naipao in a statement.

“When polio that was declared free suddenly emerges with 25 confirmed cases, tuberculosis drug resistance disease hitting the country, and health facilities facing shortage of drugs and consumable, and yet, the Health Department and the Health Minister come out in the media to cushion the real situation on the ground by saying everything is okay.

“The government of the day to blankly deny the truth on the ground and not prioritising health and education by concentrating more on the APEC leaves a lot to be questioned,” stated Dr Naipao.

“Do we care for our people? It has now compelled the people of PNG to ask the government to provide a full audit report on the APEC spending, and this report must be tabled in Parliament because K1.2 billion or more were spent. It is the people’s money. They have a right to know how it was spent.

“Only the parliament can accept this audited report.”

In a non-related statement, Shadow Minister for Treasury & Finance, Ian Ling-Stuckey, expressed similar sentiments, saying health care costs have sky-rocketed by 75 percent.

“What you used to be able to buy for K10 in health services back in 2012 will now cost you K17.50 in 2018,” he said.

“Official figures from the Bank of PNG indicate that health costs are out of control. This is just another sign of how this government doesn’t understand the high cost of living affecting PNG families.”

He further added that the people of PNG deserve more information on the actual expenses of APEC.

“More explanation is also needed on the shady procurement practices, whether it be buying Maseratis from backyard garages in Sri Lanka or even the failure to go to public tender for APEC Haus.”

Meantime, the APEC Minister recently said an audit will be carried out, which will include the APEC fleet.

(Filepic of St Mary’s Hospital at Vunapope, East New Britain)

Press release