The National, Friday November 20th, 2015
By BEATRICE BONAKOYA
PEOPLE are still paying fees for health services because Treasury is yet to release the K20 million allocated for free primary health care, according to Health secretary Pascoe Kase.
“Why are (health facilities) people still charging fees? We all know the answer to that is because the money is not there,” Kase said.
“The latest I wrote to Treasury for the release of this money would be two days ago.”
A special parliamentary committee on public sector reform and service delivery was told this week by health workers from Morobe and Western that members of the public were still being charged fees for health services, despite the Government’s free health care policy.
The committee was told that the charging of fees was necessary to keep the health facilities operating.
Health has been allocated K1.56 billion in the 2016 national budget.
Kase told the committee that far as the health sector was concerned, “health functional grants and operational funds are delayed up to six months in some cases”.
“It’s a major driver of inefficiency. Staff and plans capacity is under-utilised for half of the year and poorly utilised in the flood of expenditure at the end of the year. This also sends a message to health workers that their work is not deemed important.”
The committee prepared an interim report on health management after a fact-finding mission to New Ireland, West New Britain, Morobe, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands and Western this year.
Seventeen of its 21 recommendations called for department action.