Gap between PHAs, political leadership

Morobe Province has the highest number of aid posts in the country.

Of the 352 aid posts, 138 have been closed, according to a December 2023 report by the public health division of the Morobe Provincial Health Authority.

This is 46 per cent of the village health posts in the most populous and largest province.

In addition to that, the province has 55 health facilities in its 10 districts: 11 in Lae, 8 in Bulolo, 7 in Finschhafen while Kabwum, Menyamya and Tewai-Siassi have 6 each. Huon Gulf and Nawaeb have 4 each and Markham has 3. Most of them are in a rundown state and lack proper equipment and medical supplies.

During the opening of the K5.1 million Umba Community Health Post in Menyamya on Tuesday, January 30th, Health Minister Dr Lino Tom said provincial health authorities cannot maintain and upgrade these facilities on their own.

“A lot of funding goes to the local MPs,” said the health minister.

“This is the whole reason why I’ve been traveling throughout the country because I want to bridge this gap. There’s a big gap between PHAs, Members of Parliament and political leadership in the provinces.

“This is why not a lot has been done. I’ve been visiting provinces and telling them, work with your Members because they get these development grants.

“I’ve heard that a lot of health posts here have closed. This is where MPs will put money in.”

Dr Tom pointed out that political leaders are not necessarily experts in the health sector, hence PHAs need to give direction on what needs to be done.

“When politicians act like they know everything, things go wrong in the country.”

In the MoPHA board, the link between the Morobe Provincial Government and the health sector is the provincial administrator, Max Bruten. When the PA attends board meetings, he will be advised on the health challenges the people of Morobe are facing, and what can be done to address them.


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