Health dept achievements highlighted

The Health Department has commended the Government’s efforts in addressing the country’s health infrastructure needs.

Secretary Pascoe Kase said in December 2019, the Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, Jelta Wong, and Prime Minister James Marape announced at the opening of the new health facilities developments in Tari Provincial Hospital, Cabinet decisions to build new Hela and West New Britain provincial public hospitals.

“This is a welcome announcement for the two provinces, which will now make specialist medical services more accessible to the people,” Kase said in a statement.

“From the Health Department infrastructure plan, a number of provincial hospitals have been planned for development by the Government in the next ten years. The first one in Goroka has been completed.

“The second and third hospitals are in construction and are progressing in Boram, East Sepik Province and Enga Provincial hospitals. The Minister for health and HIV/AIDS will soon announce more hospital developments by the Government, for AROB and Central Provincial public hospitals and a few others.

“Over the recent past, major health infrastructure development projects have been completed and others are progressing across the country. Infrastructure covers provincial hospitals, district hospitals, health centres and community health posts, staff housing, medical equipment and training institutions.

“All Provincial Health Authorities must have in place a Health Service Plan and Health Facilities Master plans to address and guide infrastructure needs of the provinces. A systemic process for infrastructure development in health has been put in place to guide these developments.

“There are other major construction work which commenced since 2017 and are continuing today. A new major hospital project is being developed in Lae for Angau Memorial hospital. This work is done by the Australian government. The Prime Minister and a number of Cabinet ministers were in Lae in 2019 to inspect the progress and construction work.”

Kase outlined that other major health projects completed so far include:

  • Constructed hospitals operating theatres in Popondetta, Modilon and Kavieng hospitals;
  • Work has been completed for Boram patients’ wards, Mendi, Nonga and Kundiawa general hospitals and operationalised.

“District hospitals development program progressed in 2018 and 2019 with K150 million allocated by the Government and disbursed to most districts,” Kase added.

“A brand new district hospital was constructed in Telefomin and Kupiano while major renovations were done to Kandrian Health Centre. Other district hospitals and health centres have been allocated funds and works have commenced.

“In 2020, the health department will be requesting progress reports from all districts that have received funds for health infrastructure work in 2018 and 2019.

“Through the partnership between the Asian Development Bank, Government of PNG and DFAT, Australia, we have supported constructions of new district hospitals and health centres around the country. A new district hospital for Pomio District, a new district hospital for Bogia District, a new health centre for Ambunti District, and a new health centre for Lake Kopiago and a few others are progressing. Tenders for these major developments have been called by provincial tenders boards and awaiting awards.

“Also between these partners – ADB, DFAT and PNG government – constructions of 34 community health post have been built and completed in 2018 and 2019 in nine provinces.

“These community health posts are now opened and operational. Additional community health posts have been identified for construction in 2020. These will address the high maternal and child mortalities the country have been facing over the years.

“Procurement and establishment of a new laboratory equipment for TB testing will now be carried out in PNG. Gene Xpert machines for TB testing were installed in TB hotspots around the country. These developments will ease the challenge of TB diagnosis and testing in the country.

“Construction, installation and opening of the CATH LAB and a state of the art equipment such as CAT scanners (3) and special x-ray machines at Port Moresby General Hospital in 2019 was opened by the Prime Minister.

“The Government, through the Health Department, has constructed a quality medicines laboratory. This was established at Gordon’s and is operational with support from the World Health Organization and Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta, USA.

“A new HPLC medicines testing equipment was procured by the department and installed in the laboratory to test quality of medicines in the country to address substandard drugs.

“The Government has built 15 provincial transit medical stores in 15 provinces to date. These stores will store and hold buffer stocks of medicines for distribution to health facilities in the provinces.

“The Health Department working with development partners, with the Australian government, have rehabilitated health worker training schools and staff housing around the country.

“A new nursing school was opened in West New Britain, while the old Arawa and Boram schools of nursing were reopened in 2017. These developments have seen increases in the number of nursing graduates in the country. However, we still need to train more nurses to address our health workforce shortages facing the country.”

Press release