WESTERN Highlands province has become the second province to introduce the unified provincial health authority system which would see a more rural-based and accountable mechanism used to provide public and curative health services.
WHP Governor Tom Olga was in Port Moresby this week to sign the agreement, accompanied by the provincial administrator Michael Culligan, Mt Hagen General Hospital board chairman Dr David Guinn, CEO Dr James Kintwa and other provincial administrative and health officials.
Mr Olga said that under the health reforms, the unified system would swiftly weed out inefficient processes that had been an impediment to health delivery, particularly to the rural areas.
He commended the continued support of the Health Department, development partners- World Health Organisation and AusAID- as well as the churches and non-governmental organisations for making this reform partnership for the province a reality after a landmark decision was made for it to be trialed in the province eight years ago.
“This new arrangement gives more power to the provinces and in doing so, I will ensure that the provincial budget proposals would be giving this a major priority so that the province continues to maintain and further improve its system of delivery,” Mr Olga said.
He said that to make the systems of change to work, human resources must be effective.
Acting Health secretary Dr Goa Tau, on behalf of Health Minister Sasa Zibe and secretary Dr Clement Malau, commended the political will echoed by Mr Olga, saying that partnership was indeed a way forward.
“We are doing this for the people and not to achieve our leadership and management goals,” Dr Tau said.
The agreement signing between the Health ministry and the province was witnessed by National Health officials, WHO, AusAID, the churches, provincial community leaders. Members of the Mendi General Hospital were also present.