Health workforce crisis

Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, Dr. Lino Tom called a meeting at the Department of Health office, with all stakeholders in Port Moresby today to gauge views on how to address the looming health worker crisis.

It was an opportunity for the National Capital District Provincial Health Authority and the Port Moresby General Hospital management to meet in the hope of setting the pace on improving health service delivery to the 1 million plus residents of the NCD and Central Province and all who seek medical assistance from Port Moresby General Hospital.  

Dr. Tom, called major stakeholders including the NCD Provincial Health Authority, Port Moresby General Hospital Chief Executive Officer and management and the National Department of Health Secretary and management to meet at the NDoH headquarter, to collaborate in addressing the inadequate delivery of health services in the country.

“Our country is at the verge of health workforce crisis. I don’t know his number of patients you doctors are seeing at NCDPHA, but the numbers from other hospitals and health facilities throughout the country, I’m getting are quite daunting and damning,” Dr. Lino said.

Dr. Lino is concerns of the fast growing population that is putting high demand on health service delivery but there is inadequate health worker work force and facilities.

“The ratio of doctor to patient we have right now is about one to 20,000 people and with the recent studies done by the UN, they use this remote sensing technique to estimate the population and it’s usually quite accurate for larger populations, so it’s probably accurate. So it’s the recent numbers they released again maybe lower than 15million, but somewhere between there and if there’s any truth in those figures, we’re looking at the proportion widening, the disparity widening a bit for the worse.” Dr. Tom said.

Dr. Lino said looking at the health workforce crisis in the country was one of his priorities when he took on the health minister portfolio, which he had already started on it.

“We’re doing an extensive audit on the human resource we have within the sector. Once we finally have the true figures, we will be putting in mitigation measures to make sure we address that disparity that we have. But it’s not going to be easy, because our capacity at the current training institutions are quite limited,” he added. 

Dr. Lino said though the institutions have been producing constant numbers over a number of years, the population keeps growing and compounding. The population growth rate is about 3 per cent and keeps growing.