Health reforms are now in place

Letters, Normal

I DO not normally write to newspapers but I have to because I feel I have been totally misrepresented in your Feb 24 editorial.
I want to inform the public what took place in Madang and what we are doing to transform health in this country.
In my two and a half years of service to the Government as the chief adviser, I have not blamed the Government in any way but have taken all the challenges and provided advise based on my experience and in the best interest of good health for all Papua New Guineans.
What the editorial failed to express is the numerous reforms that I have initiated and in the process of executing.
Our health system has deteriorated over the years for so many reasons and they cannot be transformed overnight.
However, I am confident the reforms and plans we have put in place now will make a difference for the majority of our people in the future.
Specific to the Madang meeting, I did not see any of your editorial staff there.
So I am dumb-founded as to how you got the facts.
The meeting was the first of its kind bringing together all the district managers of health and district administrators.
The meeting was co-hosted with the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government.
The National Fiscal and Economic Commission also attended.
We had the pleasure of hosting the Asia Pacific manager of Global Fund whom I had invited to sensitise him of the intentions and commitment we had of reforming our local level health systems and making them more robust and effective so as to deliver and maintain health services more effectively now and in the future.
This was so that future Global Fund grant proposals would focus on health systems strengthening which is in line with our reform processes and ensure that we are able to address and maintain TB, malaria, HIV/AIDS and other priority programmes.
There was not a time any statement of blame was raised against the Government in the meeting.
The overwhelming support and positive comments from the participants indicated that it was an enormous success.
We informed the districts on what we were doing and urged them to work together to rebuild and improve health service delivery throughout the country.
Regarding Hela, I did and have raised the issue on many occasions as an example of the need for investment in education and health in the new province and acknowledging that it will be the bread basket of our country.
I believe this would be critical to prosperity and growth and lead to long term security for the province, thus avoiding situations like that already experienced in many African countries.
Investment in education and health now will prevent future turmoil.
The idea of the seminar was to work with the our key partner, the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government, and allow my executive management team to speak directly to our frontline managers to ensure we all work as a team.
The Madang meeting was one of the most innovative and successful meetings I have attended and facilitated.
We hope to publish all the resolutions of this meeting next week so that we can keep the public engaged and informed. 
I am committed to serving the people and government of PNG and will remain so as long as I can be useful to health and development in PNG.
I have been blessed to have been given the education and experience which I will use to provide the best advice I can give to the government for the good of all Papua New Guineans.


Dr Clement Malau
Secretary for Health