No scholarships for clinical medicine

Letters, Normal

The National, Tuesday 06th December 2011

I WOULD like to congratulate the four young Papua New Guineans who received the Commonwealth Chevening scholarships to study in Britain.
I hope they will contribute positively after their studies to develop our country.
Many past recipients of this scho­larship are now leaders in their fields of expertise and are contributing to the development of PNG.
I applaud and thank the British High Commission for continuing to develop our human resource.
I stand to be corrected but the issue here is that there are no scholarships in the field of clinical medicine.
There are numerous scholarships in the health sector – everything but cli­nical medicine.
Not surprisingly, AusAID last month stated in this paper a bleak holistic picture of the health workforce in PNG in the next 10 years as many current health workers are nearing their retirement age. 
I hope the Department of Health will look into this issue as there are many credible people now in the top management working tirelessly to address it if given adequate funding.
However, what AusAID failed to mention was the quality of care and the clinical continuum in sustaining well trained and qualified local staff for a better standard of health care to Papua New Guineans.
This can be done by training leaders in clinical medicine, which has been given a back seat since independence.
After 36 years of self-governance, let us reflect on the development and progress in many professions in our country that have fared well and those that did not.
Clinical medicine is one of those “left behind”. 
This is the field that will determine the standard of clinical care of Papua New Guineans in years to come.
Let us spare a thought on how this field might fare in the next decade or so because the prospect is indeed bleak.
Unless we invest now in training leaders in clinical medicine, we are deemed to face unprecedented low levels of clinical care of our people.
For those partners who support development of leadership in various professions in the country, I suggest you pause and take a look in the future of clinical medicine in the next decade and respond on face value.

Dr Leslie Bahn Kawa