PNG Health Department To Investigate 7 Hospitals

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Management issues allegedly hampered service delivery

By Nellie Setepano

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 29, 2012) – The Department of Health is taking corrective measures to address management woes faced by hospitals throughout the country.

Minister for Health HIV AIDS, Michael Malabag announced on Tuesday.

As part of the corrective process, seven hospitals will be investigated by the audit team set up by the Department of Health. These hospitals are; Daru, Kerema, Kimbe, Boram, Manus, Kavieng and Popondetta.

Minister Malabag was responding to a newspaper report that highlighted on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) findings on the management of hospitals, provincial health and Department of Health, dated to 2009 and 2010. The PAC found that there was incompetence, indifference, ineptitude, policy failure and fiscal mischief at high levels. These management woes have led to the health and hospital services unable to deliver sound, timely and accessible treatment to citizens.

Mr. Malabag said his secretary, Pascoe Kase, who was appointed after the PAC audit (2009 – 2010) was made aware of the findings.

"I already directed Mr. Kase to put in-place strategies or way forward to improve the management practices of the health sector.

"I am very concerned of the flaws and irregularities found in the management of hospitals, rural health services and the Department of Health and the Secretary and myself have taken initiatives to inspire better management of our health institutions," he said.

"We want to ensure our management teams are doing the right thing by knowing Human Resource and Finance management practices," he added. Mr. Malabag said as a way forward for hospitals, provincial health and Department of Health to improve the management of its human resource and finance, the Department has undertaken the following initiatives:

Mr. Malabag also pointed out, for clarity of institutional autonomy, that public hospitals are a separate entity under the Hospital Board Act of 2004, meaning hospitals manage its own finance and human resources. This is the same for provincial health and Department of Health.

He urged the media to be cautious when tagging headlines, putting hospitals and provincial health under the Department of Health as the interpretation is incorrect.

"Legally hospitals operate under the Hospital Board Act, provincial or rural health comes under the Organic Law, and the Health Department falls under the Public Health Act," he said.

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