Malau: Politicians hinder developments

National, Normal

The National, Thursday, May 5, 2011

POLITICAL interference in authorising rural health grants is one reason why services at rural centres have deteriorated or experiencing funding problems, Health secretary Dr Clement Malau says.
Addressing the Catholic Bishops Conference annual general meeting in Port Moresby yesterday, Malau said political “power play in the bureaucracy’ had affected delivery of health services nationwide.
He made the admission being questioned by a bi­shop why funding for rural health services was not readily available when needed or delayed for extended periods.
“The process to get the cheques approved takes a long time clearly because it happens at the political level,” Malau said.
“The political members are not supposed to do that but when authorising cheques.”
Rabaul Archbishop Carl Hesse said services should be more focused on remote rural areas which suffered greatly, forcing people to walk long distances to get to the next centre.
“How can we change the health system so that it becomes more people-centred and in alleviating some of the suffering that many rural populations have to go through every year,” he asked.
“In all my time visiting rural places in Rabaul, I have never seen any improvements.”
Hesse is one of the bi­shops and heads of more than 20 dioceses in PNG, including two in Solomon Islands, who have expressed frustration on the lack of government support in rural health.
The bishops said that had affected Catholic health services and hampered growth and development in the rural health sector.
Malau agreed with the suggestions by the bishops to change the health system and allow for decentralised powers to provinces and churches to deal effectively with health services in their area.