Thursday, January 19, 2012

O’Neill pledges Free medical care

Source: Home News, Post Courier, January 19, 2012

MEDICAL treatment and services will be free for all patients throughout Papua New Guinea’s government hospitals immediately.
This was officially announced yesterday by the O’Neill-Namah government declaring it a major intervention program similar to its free education policy.
This will be the country’s first which means Papua New Guineans will receive medical care whatever the ailment for free from all hospitals.
And yesterday also a total of K350 million was given to rehabilitate all referral and provincial hospitals in a bid to step up efficient healthcare delivery.
The country’s largest referral infirmary with 9000 patients, Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH), received the lion’s share with K50 million.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill made the official announcements following an official visit to the PMGH accompanied by his deputy, Belden Namah, his cabinet Ministers and members of his coalition after Parliament’s morning session.
He announced the new policy to staff, patients and members of the public at the PMGH reception hall saying it was a major intervention program.
From the K350 million, K150 million will be allocated to the country’s six other referral hospitals including Angau Memorial, Nonga, Goroka, Mount Hagen, Boram and Modilon with K25 million each.
The rest of the provincial hospitals will receive K10 million each.
The K350 million allocation is additional to the K800 million allocated for the health sector in this year’s health budget.
Currently fees include CT-scans, post mortem, morgue storage, sealing certificates, embalming, major, minor and major operations, outpatients, inpatients, ward services, medical examinations and reports and other specialist services and treatments which differ in all respective hospitals.
“Our government is absolutely concerned about the shocking decay of health facilities and inefficient delivery of health services to all our citizens,” Mr O’Neill said.
“As responsible and caring leaders of this country, we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to appalling run down conditions of our hospitals and equally dysfunctional healthcare delivery, shortage of medical drugs and lack of medical and surgical equipment.
“Our government cannot sit by and watch our people dying needlessly because they cannot afford to pay for the cost of receiving appropriate medical treatment, medical drugs are unavailable or surgical equipment to perform urgent operations had fallen into disrepair.
“This state of affairs must stop.
“In this respect, I announce on behalf of our government that provision of health and medical services at all hospitals throughout PNG become free to all citizens with effect as of today (yesterday).
“All citizens will not be charged medical fees anymore.”
In relation to staff welfare, Mr O’Neill said the government was aware of their plight including housing, wages and other remuneration entitlements which it was considering in order to compliment improved working facilities.
Earlier Chairman of the PMGH Board, Dadi Toka Jnr, said it was a struggle to manage the premier hospital with an increase in patients numbers compared with a decrease in the number of staff.

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