Zibe: Increase health budget

National, Normal


MINISTER for Health and HIV/AIDS Sasa Zibe wants the Government to increase the budget for health annually to about 10% of gross domestic product (GDP). The minister wants this for 10 years starting next year.
Mr Zibe made this known when delivering a keynote address at the 54th annual medical symposium at the Taurama campus of the University of PNG in the national capital yesterday.
At present, the current health allocation is about 2.5% of GDP, and Mr Zibe called on participants to assist his ministry make a viable proposal to the National Government, led by his own National Alliance party.
“I hope that the symposium will come up with a realistic proposal to Somare-Temu Government through the Health Ministry to improve the health budget from 2.5% GDP to 10%,” he said.
This year’s annual allocation for the health sector is around K490.9 million. A 10% of GDP appropriation would see this balloon to more than K600 million.
He said the National Health Department (NDoH) must have an evidence-based budget and that the improvement in GDP would strengthen the country’s healthcare system and public service delivery.
Mr Zibe said whilst NDoH had commenced a 10-year process of national health plan (2010-20), the projected economic boom in PNG for next five to 10 years would challenge the establishment of road map for healthcare advancement harnessed from our economic growth.
This, he said, was critical because failing to set this agenda in the immediate future might not see PNG converting its economic wealth to better health outcomes.
Mr Zibe said there should be development of a new innovative health system to deliver healthcare to throughout PNG and also strengthen church health services, NGOs and the private health.
Mr Zibe said he was looking forward to the resolutions from the symposium as a new vehicle to enhance future healthcare and align development partners with national health priorities in long-term health projects.
“The Government will be proactive with financial support not only for primary healthcare providers, but also to foster health insurance schemes.”
The symposium started yesterday with the theme Private and Public Partnership in Healthcare.
Meanwhile, Mr Zibe and secretary Dr Clement Malau are advocating for a unified health authority system for Papua New Guinea which they believe will turn the country’s poor health indicators around and help improve healthcare systems.
They believe the Provincial Health Authorities Act is the way forward in dealing with problems currently faced in the health system.
The minister said the Act which he referred to as “one system tasol” was the recipe for elimination of programme and resource duplication, the prevention of confusion and improvement of health service delivery.
He added that the law was aimed at removing the impediments and barriers in the delivery of health services which is the cause of separation of roles and responsibilities between urban-based public hospitals and rural health services.
“The law allows for the unification of rural health and public hospitals management and delivery systems under a single health authority in the provinces,” he said.
Dr Malau said the reform came following the health expenditure review 10 years ago and of studies which confirmed the urgency to improve the health service delivery structure and management system in PNG.
Mr Zibe added that the health system in the province would be more service oriented under the health reform by having:
* Only one board of governance;
* One management structure; 
*One financial and accounting system;
*One performance monitoring arrangement; and 
*One clear line of reporting and accountability in line with provisions of the Public Services (Management) Act and the Public Finances (Management Act).