Temu: Get back to basics

Staff at the National Department of Health have been directed to get back to basics and focus on primary health care as a priority by the incoming Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, Puka Temu.

Temu gave the direction when he held an all-staff meeting at NDoH Headquarters. 

He later had an incoming briefing with the Executive Managers of the various divisions, the two Deputy Secretaries, and Health Secretary Pascoe Kase.

A key point raised was the need to return to primary health care.

“There is a need to re-build what has been lost over the last decade.”

He urged the NDOH staff to put themselves in the shoes of a Papua New Guinean seeking basic health care and develop plans and policies from this perspective.

Minister Temu said the health system had been cut into too many small pieces, and requested that further consideration be given to the shape of the legal and administrative structure under which the health system could best operate.

His preference is to provide health function grants directly to the Provincial Health Authority (PHAs) to speed up service delivery.

He asked that more work be done to better align District Development Authorities with provincial health authorities and that work begins immediately based on the “First 100 Days” plan for his portfolio which he hopes to release later this week.

Priority areas Minister Temu noted include the speed up work on key legislation, implementing a package of cancer-response measures including the HPV trial, handing management of the Cancer Unit to Angau Memorial Hospital, and bringing forward new legislation to improve radiotherapy and accelerate efforts to mobilise Cuban doctors.

Others areas include more policy work on health workforce numbers, the projection for future needs and associated costs as well as to develop an action plan for the roll-out of e-health initiatives.

Minister Temu also singled out fixing the medical supplies issue which he stated was one of the highest priorities for the new Government. 

“All outstanding bills should be paid as soon as possible and a new 2-Year Procurement plan developed.”

He adds that future distribution of medicine should be split into the four regions to allow more competition and help existing players have market share.

Upon welcoming Minister Temu to the Department, Secretary Kase said that staff were honoured to have a new Minister bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the portfolio given his background as a medical doctor by profession and a former Secretary for Health.

Annette Kora