Couple of weeks ago I had some medical students visiting where I worked. They were visiting the establishment for a day as part of their medical training. I was told the main objective of their visit was to compare the private and public medical care in PNG and form an opinion.
I thought one day was a waste of time! What can you learn in one day? In fact the visit was only for one hour!
Anyway, the students asked some very interesting questions. For example, some of the questions were?
Does private hospitals pay more?
Is there any future in private medical care in PNG?
What is the main benefit of working in a private hospital?
What about continueing professional development for those working in private care fascilities?
What kind of patients go to private clinics and hospitals?
Does people from the squater settlements in Port Moresby go to the private hospital despite the obvious higher fees?
I gave my answers. But sitting there and answering those medical students was both satisfying and raising questions in my own mind.
PNG does not have a national insurance policy for all workers. And the patients that seek private care have to cover their own costs.
Should PNG have a national insurance policy, made compulsory by law, so that all workers, either in public or private have insurance cover so that they can seek private care either in PNG or overseas? I think this will not only help the patients but also help develop the private medical care setting in PNG. The other question is: Is the time right for such a compulsory insurance cover for all workers? I think it is.