The three-day workshop was opened on November 5th by Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, Sir Puka Temu.
The workshop, led by the Health Department and co-funded by the government of Australia and Oil Search Foundation, provides an avenue to consult stakeholders in a review of all laws that establish health sector governance and arrangements for health service delivery.
Speaking to participants, the Health Minister said structural issues are some of the factors that hamper service delivery in PNG.
He said though laws have been passed on the floor of parliament, they have not been well-aligned or realistic in ensuring the effective flow of services to the people.
“In 1995, when the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local-Level Governments was framed, we had great difficulty as a country,” stated Sir Puka.
“I was instructed as health secretary to go and read and properly define, by an enabling legislation – Section 42 (A) of the Organic Law – which is rural health.
“Who will be responsible for rural health? And so I came up with a National Health Administration Act (1997). Trying to define the powers, roles, functions and responsibilities of the different levels of government.”
Sir Puka said under the National Health Administration Act, the powers of public hospitals were transferred back to the Government from provincial governments.
However, the Health Department had to sign memorandums of agreement with provincial governments, which gave rise to other unforeseen challenges.
Hence the Health Minister said this workshop is a once in a decade opportunity to examine our laws, to consult all stakeholders and to find a system which works better for PNG’s unique circumstances.
(Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, Sir Puka Temu)