Invest in health sector


PAPUA New Guinea has been experiencing 8,000 to 10,000 deaths every year from other medical conditions.
Many patients recovered with complications, financial depletion, mental stress and economical time lost by all stakeholders.
Since Independence no serious commitments been given by political leaders, bureaucrats and stakeholders such as what we have done for the Covid-19.
The health sector gets four per cent of the GDP in the annual budget.
PNG has confirmed eight Covid-19 cases for the last nine weeks.
The latest was four weeks ago.
There are no deaths.
The state of emergency (SOE) was declared since March and K6 billion appropriated.
All points of entries are closely monitored and the 22 provinces established Covid-19 coordination centres.
Many provincial governments and partners have supported with millions of kina and resources.
The economy has been worse hit.
Many macro and micro economy have been affected.
Economies in the world have shut down for the past three months.
As a result, the demand for oil, gas, gold, timber and others are low.
However the supply is still the same.
This has created an unbalanced equilibrium in the market.
Many commodities have to be sold at lower prices.
As a result you make less money, less profit, more domestic liabilities and increase depth from loan.
Now is a time to be very innovative.
Be strategic, consult experts in social, economic, legal sectors and international trades to move out of the current dark environment to prosperity.
We need to empower our people in agriculture and marine resources through small medium enterprises (SME) strategies.
These two sectors alone can generate billions of kina.
During such global phenomena can PNG become a food supply hub for whole world?
In return we get money to manage our internal affairs.
When the world recovers from the Covid-19, we can invest in other non-renewable sectors.
The Government should lift the SOE immediately.
Every immigrant must be screened at the point of departure and on arrival and put on surveillance for 14 days.
If a district or province has a Covid-19 case, then SOE should be declared in that locality while other provinces and economy must continue to function.
Politicians, bureaucrats, managers, partners and stakeholders should understand that 8,000 to 10,000 deaths every year in PNG are caused by many other preventable diseases.
If we can give equal priority and effort to other medical diseases similar to what we are doing for the Covid-19, we can improve all health indicators in PNG.
Remember that investing in health is investing in economy of a country.

Dr Hewali Hamiya,

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