He told Chief Executive Officers of 22 Provincial Health Authorities during a recent health meet. The Prime Minister adding that the COVID-19 pandemic had intensified the deficiency PNG has in its healthcare sector over these years.
The Government has allocated K15 million in the 2022 National Budget to start the work on building 22 modern provincial hospitals in the country.
He said there is a lot of room for improvement and wants good health facilities like the 22 provincial hospitals to be built and fully equipped with the necessary medical kits and equipment available.
The Prime Minister said, despite the fact that the government has allocated the greatest share of resources to key sectors including health, constraints remain the biggest challenge in the economy, country and the health sector.
The Prime Minister said the government’s allocation is still not enough and he urged international partners like WHO, UNDP, UNICEF and our bilateral partners like Australia, New Zealand, US who continue to support the country and work with us in ensuring the intentions in the Health Plan is realized.
“I kindly ask you all to go down to the various provinces and districts and visit a health centre or a community aid post where every help is needed to support us deliver the health services to our people."
He said the Government wants health services to be within an hour’s reach by every mode of transportation in the country. That in essence means quality health services must be accessible to people.
“When the pandemic struck our country, we knew that there was no medication that could be used to cure COVID-19 patients. The only cure was oxygen ventilators for those who were severely affected. We had only 200 ICU beds and of those, only 44 beds with oxygen built-in to serve those in most need of help or treatment for COVID-19 virus.
“In a country of over 8 million people such statistics for our medical care equipment is deplorable as far as the provision of timely health care to our citizens is concerned. That is something we cannot be proud of,” he said.
The Prime Minister said: “Leaders and people with money are being medevacked but the citizens cannot afford such a luxury for medical treatment overseas or elsewhere in their own country.”
He urged every PHA to come up with a plan to have the healthcare system modernized and easily accessible to people.