Where are the doctors?


IT is sad to read the news from the medical symposium which reveals that many rural areas do not have doctors.
Having worked in a rural outstation some years ago I agree with the sentiments raised by the president of the Papua New Guinea Society of Rural and Remote Health.
Why does the health department allow nearly half of the doctors in this country to be based in Port Moresby, at the expense of the rural majority?
This, however, is not the doctors’ fault. The blame should lie squarely with the policymakers.
Our doctors are very well trained, and they therefore expect to be remunerated accordingly, after years of specialist training.
Many doctors are willing to serve in the rural areas if the government can ensure that the rural hospitals and health centres are adequately equipped and proper housing is provided.
The Government needs to provide incentives for doctors to work in rural healthcare centres, with attractive work environment and comfortable living conditions.
Provincial governments will also need to be directly involved in the provision of these incentive packages, as they are directly responsible with the management of government outstations where the rural healthcare centres are located.
The suggestions made here can only materialise if both the national and provincial governments’ political and public services are willing to change the status quo.

Lawrence Billy
Hospital Hill

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