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Plan focuses on service delivery, effective collaboration

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 9, 2009) – The Government gives top priority to ensuring that all Papua New Guineans have access to health care and services and live longer, productive lives and age with dignity, Health Minister Sasa Zibe said last week.

Acknowledging the country’s poor health standards, Mr. Zibe announced last Thursday that the National Health Department had begun developing a new 10-year plan for 2011-20 once the current health plan (2001-10) expires next year.

The new plan will address health issues such as maternal and child mortality, HIV/AIDS, deaths from curable diseases such as TB and malaria and other problems.

The current plan, reviewed in a two-day session by various clinical disciplines, the public and provincial health representatives, medical researchers and senior management staff of the national Health Department, is being used as a guide for the new plan.

"Having gained insight by the evaluations of the past 10 years, I am confident that we can build on those positive achievements and milestones in collaborations with our partners to strive to improve and make health care accessible to all the citizens of this country," Zibe said.

He said the new plan’s two major projects were to improve the health service delivery structure and system and to have effective collaboration with partners and stakeholders.

The first project will see the merger of the provincial and hospital boards so that public hospitals and rural health services will come under one authority and be known as the Provincial Health Authority and will report to the national level.

The pilot provinces are Milne Bay, Eastern and Western Highlands.

The second project is to ensure the effective use of funds from donors and development partners and will be channelled from the top down to the service delivery points to eliminate parallel or rival systems within the health sector.

"At the moment, there are many projects going on within a hospital or provincial board which no one knows about.

"This new plan will ensure one government, one national health department and one system to build the capacity of the PNG health system.

"Also, the Health Department and other government agencies such as Education and Community Development, must work together to promote good health, because there is a lack of health awareness in our communities," Zibe said.

The minister pointed out that the poor health indicators must not be blamed on the Health Department alone.

The new plan was developed within the framework of the 2010-50 National Strategic Plan and the Government’s 30-year long-term development plan.

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