A new national health plan will be launched in the coming months that would address the woes in the health sector, including the issue of the shortage of medical work force in the country.
Health Minister Jelta Wong said the government through this plan would double the work force through training and certifying them to work.
Minister Wong made this statement when responding to questions from the member for Pomio, Mr. Elias Kapavore, on this matter in parliament today.
Kapavore said Papua New Guinea (PNG) has about five hundred medical officers today servicing the public health system.
“We have a population of about 8 to 9 million people in the country. The UPNG school of medicine can only produce up to forty to fifty medical officers every year and this hasn’t changed since 1959.”
Mr. Kapavore said with the current rate of population growth, there is a need to really beef up the medical workforce in the country.
“Apart from medical officers, we still have a critical shortage of human resource in the country, in other categories of health workers.
At the moment, according to WHO statistics, we have a ratio of approximately five health workers serving a population of about ten thousand.
He added that with new health facilities, health centres and aid posts being established, there must be a focus to put in medical officers in these facilities to serve the people.
Minister Wong replied that the government has a new National Health Plan 2021- 2030 that will be released soon and will address this matter along with other issues in the health sector.
“What we intend to do in the plan is to ensure that we double our workforce within our country. Whilst we are building infrastructure in the country, we’ve also put in thought our people within nursing schools,” said the minister.
“That is why the bill that I will present next week is a very important bill, it’s the medical registration bill. It allows those students to be eligible to work within our country.”
We also have plans together with High Education. We’ll be sitting down in the coming months to work out how we can work together to ensure that we push into the future training and skills for our people.
Minister Wong said he will explain in detail when he reads his statement on the plan and the bill next week Tuesday, 17th August.