Evolution and economics of PMC

Letters, Normal

IN the recent weeks, professionals and individuals have expressed outrage against the Pacific Medical Centre.
Some of the equipment in the proposed PMC will boast of the latest in cutting edge technology.
I take this opportunity to enlighten the poorly informed public on the evolution and planning of the PMC.
Two years ago, several American doctors had lively meeting and discussion with the current director of accident and emergency department of PMGH, Dr Sam Yockopua.
Through him and certain concerned civil and corporate American citizens started a massive fund raising drive having seen the very plight and poor condition of the PMGH.
Even US president Barack Obama was brought into the equation of raising US$4 billion.
The decision to invest US$500 million was not initiated by the PNG government.
The remaining US$3.5 billion is for training and bringing the most recent medical equipment and technology to PNG.
Such a huge capital investment will create a massive job market for health workers and support staff, medical and scientific research, and in the process, stabilise and transform the local economy.
It will also create training of subspecialties of medical professionals where UPNG medical school is struggling to meet the growing population’s demand in the provision of better health services.
The involvement of the PNG government, through the Health Department, must be seen as a moral obligation and it is duty bound to do so given the scenario in that the initiatives were taken by civil and corporate societies from another country.
I do not see any reason why there should be so much negativity from the well known health professionals.
While I am just as disappointed with the neglected state of the rural health centres, it was not due to funding.
Over the years, the government has pumped sufficient funds but the biggest problem has been the inability of the Health Department to drawdown what has been budgeted for.
There has been gross technical incapacity on the part of the health department and this is where our so-called health professionals can advise and synergise with other technocrats such as architecture, surveyors, civil engineers and other technical people to produce substantive project proposals to drawdown what has been budgeted for.
Year after year, because of the unused budgeted funds, they have been returned to the consolidated revenue by the Department of Finance.
Now that some concerned citizens overseas are giving the much needed capital investment on a golden plate, PNG must make full use of this opportunity to modernise its medical facilities.
Owing to the fact there has been systemic corruption and technical incapacity among the personnel in the NDOH, whom most are not innovative thinkers and planners, the overall health system of PNG has been on the demise.
The evolution of PMC has nothing to do with the emergence of LNG and some of the presumptuous “count the eggs before they are hatched” statements by certain individuals only show some bias and conflicts of interest because of private and commercial interest in the health industry in PNG. 

Dr Samuel Maima
Port Moresby