PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 22, 2010) - We do need a huge reinvigoration of the nation’s public health system, that is for sure.

Our health indicators, like the rates of death in young children and women in childbirth, are terrible and getting worse.

Some hospitals are getting better, others are getting worse. More grassroots services like those offered at health centers and aid posts, are very often worse than they were at Independence.

These factors combine to make for disillusionment in many people, such as with the recently announced decision to foster a huge new private hospital on the outskirts of the National Capital District.

While we welcome the move for such a hospital, it is not clear at this stage about the way it will operate and what effect it will have on the public budget for our existing hospitals, health centers and aid posts.

Medical Society president Mathias Sapuri says the new project will not eat away at the government funding of our health facilities. The new project, to be called the Pacific Medical Centre (PMC), will be built by the Government, non-government organizations and the private sector.

It will offer training opportunities for doctors and nurses and technicians who repair medical equipment. Yet it appears the project won approval without involving the expertise of our local medical profession.

Longtime university staffer Dr. John Vince, the acting dean of University of Papua New Guinea’s (UPNG) school of medicine and health sciences, says the PMC was a politicians’ project.

He said there might be a false impression that it had been discussed and approved by the Health Department and academic health training institutions. So if the project was not glimpsed or vetted by our local experts . . . why is that so?

Surely any major project for Papua New Guinea should be bounced off the local professions with responsibilities in that domain! We believe it would be useful if the partners, including our own government, spelled out the details and answered the questions. This newspaper has often spoken of the need to have medical expertise and equipment within our country, to reduce the expense and troubles of going overseas. Yes, it is good for us but we want to know more on this "super’’ hospital!

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