The National, Wednesday, May 11, 2011
By VERONICA FRANCIS
A staff shortage means more than 700 aid posts nationwide are closed and the affected communities are totally cut off from services, Minister for Health Sasa Zibe says.
Zibe told a Governors’ Health Summit recently in Port Moresby that in many cases, the failure of the government to provide funding for maintenance had seen public hospitals and health centre literally falling apart.
He said in other cases, normal wear and tear had led to neglect.
This means that of the 3,451 aid posts in Papua New Guinea, only 2,675 are operational.
Zibe said to address this, the Department of Health had developed a National Health Plan 2011-20 to guide the sector to improve service delivery.
“The development of community health posts is seen as the main way in which services are going to be improved for the rural majority and the urban disadvantaged, including the reduction of unnecessary deaths of mothers and children,” he said.
It is understood K13 million has been approved for the development of community health post in the Health Department’s 2011 development budget.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the government and the Asian Development Bank for the rural health service delivery project, which includes the development of 32 community health posts, refurbishing of 120 health centres and 160 staff houses.
Zibe said population growth and demand for health services were consistently outstripping manpower and facilities.
“It is time we face the reality and do something,” he said.
The building of community health posts are funded by the Asian Development Bank, the Korean International Cooperation Agency and the government.
The health posts project is one of the impact projects undertaken by the health department this year
and targets key strategic areas of rural maternal and child health care.