By REBECCA KUKU
CHURCH-run hospitals should be given more voice, says Public Accounts Committee chairman Sir John Pundari.
He said Christian churches in PNG should be engaged fully and given more support by the Government.
“Christian churches of PNG own and operate half the health facilities around the country,” Sir John said.
“They are fighting the good fight on the frontlines against overwhelming odds.
“A truly equal and significant partner to the Government and Health Department, they should be given more voice in the healthcare sector.”
Sir John said a provision of an efficient and effective health system in PNG presented a number of significant challenges for the Government, including overcoming many geographic, cultural, financial and systematic issues,” he said.
“For this reason, the committee recommended that church health service providers should be given an increasing role in primary healthcare service delivery.
“Primary healthcare facilities are the predominant point of access to the health system in rural and remote areas of PNG where more than 80 per cent of the population live.
“Thus, for an efficient health and medical supply system, church missions should be allowed to run many of the public health facilities operated by the Government under the Health Department through partnership arrangements with churches and the proposed National Pharmaceutical Authority (NPA).”
Sir John said the provision of Government funding to subsidise church health institutions, has been long-standing.
“The Government should fund church-run health services covering operational and salary grants and subsidise for an efficient medical service through the Government’s free primary healthcare policy under this arrangement.
“The funding and coordination of the delivery of the health services and the distribution of medical drugs can be synchronised through a combined effort by church-run organisations through bodies such as the Christian health services secretariat, formally known as the Churches medical council, and the proposed NPA.”
By REBECCA KUKU