Papua New Guinea National Health Plan 2011-20.

The Papua New Guinea National Health Conference is on this week in Port Moresby and the Government has launched the National Health Plan 2011-2020.

It is planned that the government will spend K1.2 billion (US$ 400 million) starting next year, up from K900 million (US$ 300 million) in 2009. An increase of K100 million (US$ 300 000). When launching the plan Deputy Prime Minister Don Polye said the implementation must take place at the local level government to ensure improvement of health indicators in the districts”. I could not agree more on this statement. This is because I am working at a district hospital and I see exactly what needs to be done! The media reports on the launching were very brief but I would be interested in the details. According to the health minister, trained health workers will now be able to make outreach patrols into remote areas. How exactly do you plan to do that minister? Do not get me wrong. I am a supporter of Minister Zibe because he is focusing on rural health, which has been a lip service from previous governments. But working here in a district, the problem is with the implementation of the plans. It has been and I am afraid to say it may be for the new health plan 2011-20.

For the Wapenamanda district, there are only two doctors, for a population of over 80,000 (from last census – 10 years ago!). Papua New Guinea’s population is growing at 2% per annum. This figure has definitely gone up! I want to make rural health centre visits but I do not have a car – a four-wheel drive landcruiser – that is. The road is really bad into the remote areas. Is the health plan in line with rural infrastructure development? Is there something in this new plan for drs in districts to have supervisory vehicles? Will there be extra funding to cover the running costs of this vehicle in this new plan? (on assumption of course). Or will poor district hospitals will have to dig deep into their operational accounts to cover extra costs? Will there be extra funding for districts to extend MCH clinics or give annual in-service for health workers in health centres on essential obstetric care?

I did only one supervisory visit last year. The car was hired. The fuel was provided by the provincial health office. Since than no more visits! The single most common thing aired by the health workers was lack of on-going in-service. I hope this new health plan takes professional development for rural health workers into account as well. By the way, there was no extra allowances when I did my visit, which should be the case, because patrols and supervisory visits should be part and partial of routine district health services. Not “extra” work where health workers claim allowances. I just hope that this increase in health expenditure will not be spent on “administrative costs” with little to show to actually make a difference in our vital statistics.

I also hope that the bulk of this increase in health expenditure will go to church health services. Not provincial or district health offices. It is a fact that the rural health service in PNG is done by the churches medical agencies. Will there be an increase in funds to these church run medical agencies? The only district hospital in the Wapenamanda district is run by the Gutnius Lutheran Church. Will we get an increase in funds to cater for health centre visits or to extend MCH clinics? Or leave the rural outreach programs to the district health managers? We work in partnership but sometimes there are invisible walls that seem too hard to break. The government rural health services has deteriorated and it is the churches who are providing that service and I strongly believe that the churches medical agencies should get a larger piece of the cake.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the 2011-20 national health plan document to see the ‘road map’ government has produced to guide us to deliver health services to rural PNG. I know I am and will be doing my share of the workload.


About rodney itaki

Medical doctor and public health specialist from Papua New Guinea.
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19 Responses to Papua New Guinea National Health Plan 2011-20.

  1. aselebe dauda lawal says:

    no commente

  2. Pingback: Papua New Guinea National Health Plan 2010-2020-The way forward? « Zanggom

  3. Poyap says:

    Hi Rodney,

    Have you recieved a copy of the health plan yet, any e-copy? Me tok save lo mums, na askim em lo salim wanpla hard copy ikam..It would be great if NDOH can disseminate e-copies via internet!

    Anyway, Hope the celebrations went well for you na family, Happy Independence day..

    Mi statim liklik blog to for SPMT…check it out when yu get time and if interested…baby steps…


    • rodney itaki says:

      No mate no copy. No e-copy either. I am not sure who to ask in the NDoH for a e-copy. Dr Dakulala?

      Mate, Waps is celebrating with usual sports activities. I am the only dr at the hospital at the moment so just staying here and focusing on the blog.

      Will come around to your blog.

  4. Elaine says:

    I am a student and would like to have a soft copy of the NHP 2011 – 2020.

    • rodney itaki says:

      Elaine I have been trying to obtain a copy but it seems you may have to go the health department office and ask for one. I am also trying to find an electronic copy to put it up here for readers to download.

  5. zanggom says:

    Hi Dr Itaki,

    I managed to get an electronic copy of the National Health Plan 2011-2020.
    If you have not recieved a copy yet, then you can download from this site.

    cheers bro.

    Mathew Zanggo

    • rodney itaki says:

      Thanks mathew. I provided the link on my facebook status for others to download. I wonder how it was available in Australia to others but not to us working on the ground. Does it imply it will be implemented by Australians? Or just make it available to the Australian taxpayers whose dollar may be funding this grand plan? After the launch it should have been available to each and every medical doctor in the country on electronic format! Hello, get on the email network and distribute, PNG NDoH. The new medical graduants are computer savvy. Not like those 5 years ago. Flow with the times, please!

  6. zanggom says:

    Bro, very true.
    It is disappointing that it was not made available on the Health Department website, which I had been frequenting. Not a very good start if they were serious about the plan.

    I only hope that they will smarten up their act and accordingly follow the NHP which they had given much publicity to. The NHP is a document that all health workers should have a copy and the general public must be aware of the issues that are regarding health in our country.

    Hence, they can decide for themselves some of the health issues that are currently on-going from the disease prevalence rates to the controversy of the PMC.

  7. Poyap says:


    I agree! The Plan is supposed to be the beacon of light for all health professional and others to guide us towards our planned goal of achieving healthier, happier and more sustainable lives. To show that we are serious about achieving our goals, and conjour up some sort of team spirit, copies of the plan should be made EASILY available to all stake holders!…. Dissemination through the internet is a great start. Well done!

  8. Avril Hakkinen says:

    Pretty nice site you’ve got here. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

    Avril Hakkinen
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  9. Haley Benjamin says:

    Dr Rodney Itaki,

    Forgive me here as I do not really know you but this is the version of how the NHP got into Sydney. One of the afore mentioned ladies went home for the demise of an immediate relative and upon her return to Australia decided to call in at the DOH head office to see if she could get hold of a copy. As she says it was not that easy to attain one but after insisting someone managed to give a copy in a CD.

    And of course we know this will not and cannot be implemented in Australia, it just so happened that it is here ahead of you lot back home and there is no need to be sarcastic about this. At least you have a copy and everyone will eventually have a copy
    through this website if they have access to the internet.


  10. Miok Tata says:

    I for one think that, National Government throught it’s health expepnditutre should increase the GDP from 3.3% current by two or three fold is the way. We may have a good plan, but won’t work, if there is insufficient fund. You can’t get affortable, sufficient health service to the citizen without money.


  11. Does anyone have a PDF copy of the 2008 National Inventory of Health Facilities? This would be very useful to some resource planning I am trying to do at the moment, but I can’t seem to find a copy anywhere!

  12. Petra Arifeae says:

    Hi Docs,

    Can someone give information on the following questions:
    1. What percentage of the population in PNG require healthcare services – ones that are not receiving these?
    2. How many community health workers do we have in total in PNG?

    Or can anyone direct me to right places in PNG to obtain information on various healthcare statistics or information?

    Your assistance will be greatly appreciated


  13. ethadius says:

    Hii Petra,
    I Have justed sighted Health Service Delivary in PNG 2012 pdf doc
    and came accross to you second question about the total number of CHWs in
    the country.

    Clich here to view:
    Then scroll down to page 6.


    Elizah Thadius (dwu student)

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