GLARING errors riddle the country’s health strategy under the recently launched 2018-2022 Medium Tern Development Plan III.
In an analysis of the document shadow treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said the level of planning for the health sector was “absolutely deplorable” because it contained very “embarrassing errors”.
He said the plan proposed 174 aid posts to be built beginning with eight in 2018 and 10 each for 2019-2022 in PNG which only added up to 48.
He pressed home another example regarding a proposed increase in the total health workforce from 10,000 in 2018 to 37,500 in 2022. “How can the over-stretched and underfunded health teaching facilities aim to nearly quadruple the entire health workforce in only another four years?” Mr Ling-Stuckey said.
“And of course, in addition to presumably needing more hospitable beds and nurses houses for this extraordinary increase in staffing, there would also need to be a massive increase in salaries for health workers shown in the 2019 Budget Strategy.”
Mr Ling-Stuckey said continuing the story of “pipe dreams” the plan claims the number of physicians per 100,000 people will increase from 5 to 50 which is over 10 times as many doctors in only five years.
He said after allowing for population increases over the five years, this would require 12 doctors for every single doctor currently. “Can someone please explain to the PNC government that it takes a long time to train doctors like more than five years – once again a planning failure,” he said.
He said another planning failure was nil upgrading mentioned for the next four years but for 19 provincial hospitals, four regional hospitals and one specialist referral hospital only in 2018.
He said targets on mortality rates were not achieved as indicated under the plan and embarrassingly the recent polio and TB outbreaks dented the government’s claim of improved indicators.