Just what the doctor ordered for Central


TENTS lining up along the roadside outside Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) have long been a familiar sight to passers-by.
The tents are occupied by people from Central who are looking after family members who are sick and in one of the wards at PMGH.
That is simply because Central does not have a hospital to care for the many people requiring medical attention.
Central has a population of more than 500,000 people and is 29,998 square kilometres (11,582 sq mi) in size.
The seat of government of Central, which is located within the National Capital District outside the province, is the Port Moresby suburb of Konedobu.
On Oct 9, 2007, the Central Province Government announced plans to build a new provincial capital city at Bautama, which lies within Central Province near Port Moresby, although there has been little progress in constructing it.
Millions have gone into development of Bautama, however, the money seems to have disappeared into thin air.
Talk about a hospital for Central also seem to have been much ado about nothing.
People in the four Central districts of Abau, Rigo, Goilala and Kairuku-Hiri have suffered so much over the years.
The paradox is that Central is so close to Port Moresby, however, so far away from basic services such as health.
That, however, will become a thing of the past with the launching on Monday this week of the K500 million Central Provincial Hospital by Prime Minister James Marape.
It is just what the doctor ordered for Central Province.
It also highlighted the fact that the all-important health sector is the major beneficiary of the 2022 budget.
Marape says the 2022 budget places more focus on the Health Sector than ever before.
The Prime Minister said costs of roads, houses, electricity and other infrastructure in the new Central City at Bautama – adjoining the hospital – would take costs up to K700 million.
This will have huge economic benefits for Central, under which Port Moresby used to be, until the emergence of the National Capital District Commission.
“This is a very-timely moment, especially on the back of us going into Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov 30) to pass our 2022 budget – a budget that has greater focus on the health sector in our country,” PM Marape said.
“Health is receiving over K2.6 billion of the K22 billion budget, in fact, 11.2 per cent total allocation.
“This is possibly the first time in the last 46 years we’ve been a nation, for the health sector to receive the biggest allocation – ahead of education and many other sectors in our country.
“This is a case in point that we are serious about our people’s health issues.
“Health comes first, we cannot compromise lives and livelihood of our people.”
Marape said Central featured prominently in the 2022 budget allocation to the health sector and this would continue next year onwards.
“The story will continue, the journey will continue, until, hopefully in 2025, we will be able to come here again on this ground when a brand new 300-bed hospital is delivered not just for Central but for the country,” he said.
Marape said one good thing about Covid-19 was that it showed that the health sector was “totally deficient” in attending to the pandemic and other diseases, including only 200 intensive care unit (ICU) beds.
“Covid-19 has pointed us to the fact that we do not have the health system and capacity to handle severe outbreaks of any disease,” he said.
“In 2021, we made a conscious choice that investment in the health system will be ramped up, something that our generation of leaders can give to our country.
“This is so that by 2025, when our nation celebrates 50 years of independence, we have a better reformed health care system in our country.
“This is evident in 11.2 per cent of the total 2022 budget going to the health sector, and that will be ramped up as we go into 2023, 2024 and 2025.
“Hopefully, we will have 22 world-class hospitals in our country delivered by then, or if not delivered, taking shape.
“I want Central Provincial Hospital to be delivered by 2025,” Marape said.

  • Malum Nalu works with the Office of the Prime Minister