Deputy Chairman of the National Health Board, Dr Mathias Sapuri, said this in a statement released today.
DWU’s accreditation is among the steps taken to address the workforce crisis in the health sector.
Dr Sapuri said mechanisms were already in place to tackle the manpower shortage in PNG’s health sector, such as the Health Work Force Enhancement Plan 2012-2017.
“And as a result, six more nursing schools and seven community health workers schools were opened, while the capacities of the existing schools increased.
“The National Health Board is pleased to note that more health workers graduates are coming out from these training institutions. However, these numbers are not enough to meet the demands of the growing population. Therefore, further actions were taken by the Government to declare the UPNG School of Medicine and Health Sciences as a Standalone University along with PMGH as the University Teaching Hospital.
“The department is talking with provincial hospitals to be involved in the clinical training of health workers. Actions are taken to create more positions in all the provincial health authorities and to increase the retirement age of our technical workforce from 60-65 years.”
Furthermore, to address cancer, apart from the Radiation Control Act, the Health Department and Angau are progressing to recruit a cancer specialist (oncologist) overseas.
“Two of our own doctors are abroad. Last week, Angau hospital has brought in experts to assess the cobalt in Lae and fast-tract of Linear Accelerator at PMGH. A legal expert from Perth, Australia, to complete the regulation for the Radiation Control Regulation, which will allow importation of radioactive materials to treat cancer in the country.
“As a former Health Department worker and now Deputy Chairman of the National Health Board, I know the health system has many challenges, therefore, I call for everyone to work together with our Government through the National Department of Health and all other parts of the health system to address these challenges,” Dr Sapuri added.
“The National Health Board resolved to call on the National Doctors Association executives and the Health Department management to come to a roundtable and exchange views and find common grounds going forward.”