PROVISIONS of all rural health services in Papua New Guinea should be removed from Government responsibility and given to churches and other non-governmental organisations, Shadow Minister for Health Wake Goi has suggested.
Mr Goi, who was the health secretary for the Evangelical Brotherhood church (EBC) health services for 10 years before entering Parliament in 2007, said this on Wednesday when officially opening a new health centre at Tagaho in the Sohe electorate of Oro province.
Mr Goi said the National Government’s continued failure over the years to provide effective management, main vital health infrastructure and effectively deliver life-saving services had resulted in the deterioration of rural health services PNG-wide.
He noted that it was evident everywhere in PNG that health centres and aid posts managed by the churches provide much better services than the State-run health facilities.
“PNG’s rural population is faced with very serious health risks with worsening quality, speed and efficiency of infant and maternal care coupled with notoriously poor and inconsistent medicinal delivery systems,” Mr Goi said.
“This is a very serious health situation that is compounded by the day, resulting in unnecessary loss of lives from preventable diseases, while HIV/AIDS is ravaging the nation in endemic proportions.
“To prevent further unnecessary lost of human lives, it is incumbent on the Government to seriously working more in partnership with churches for eventual takeover of providing rural health services with legally binding annual national budgetary allocations,” he said.
Like other EBC established health centres in PNG, the Tagaho health centre will be manned by the church’s own medical staff serving more than 6,000 people from Tagaho, Hungiri, Seremba, Dapa, Jamba and others villages in the adjoining areas along the Kumusi River.
Built at a cost of more than K80,000, the new health centre this week started providing maternity and child health, in and outpatients, immunisation and well as volunteer counseling and testing of HIV/AIDS.
About K20,000 was contributed by former Sohe MP Peter Oresi when he was in office during the last term of Parliament.
The public service, community leaders and the people were appreciative of the ECB’s efforts to provide essential health service in the area, particularly in the absence of national and Oro provincial government presence.