The National Department of Health is a statutory Organization focused on delivering better health services to the people of Papua New Guinea. The health outcome priorities as outlined in its 2012-2018 strategic objectives is to:
- Fully immunize every child under 1 year old.
- Reduce maternal mortality in districts with high maternal deaths
- Reduce malaria prevalence in high malaria endemic districts.
- Reduce rate of increase in HIV and AIDS and STIs
- Reduce incidence of TB in high risk districts.
- Increase access to health services for the urban poor.
- In order for us to move forward, we focus on three key result areas which are;
Improved support for service delivery
Basically health care in Papua New Guinea is provided by governments, churches and a few private clinics and doctors. In terms of facilities, there were 1820 aid posts, 508 larger health centres, and 48 urban clinics in 2000. About 96 percent of the people living within reach of these primary health care centres.
There are government hospitals in all provinces except central whose people receive medical services from Port Moresby General Hospital which is basically a teaching and referral hospital. There are two small private hospitals in the NCD too.
The National Department of Health plans and administers health programs that are implemented at the Provincial and district level however the current devolution exercise has seen the delegation of powers to hospitals to be more flexible in managing their own human resources and finances.
Other programs are aimed at improving nutrition, personnel cleanliness, dental care, and mental health. The government also tries to promote safe water supplies and food sanitation. It tries to control communicable diseases, (e.g. diarrhea, tuberculosis, leprosy and sexually transmitted diseases) by giving people better information about the nature and the cause of the diseases.
The Strategic Plan (2011‐2018) defines the core business of the National Department of Health and its branches as:
Policy and planning
Monitoring and evaluation
Support or enabling services
Advocacy and partnership coordination.
The role of the National Department of Health is to provide clear direction to the health sector on the health priorities, ensure there are evidence based and sustainable policies to assist the development of implementation plans, work with key stakeholders to ensure effective and affordable programs are able to be delivered where and when they are needed, and implement the governance and performance management strategies that will promote accountability and transparency across the health sector.
The delivery of health services is the primary responsibility of the Provinces and Districts as described in the Our Mandate section. However, one of the key objectives of the National Department of Health is to support the delivery of services at the regional and local level. To facilitate this there needs to be a focus on the following:
Targeting critical vacancies, supporting our front line staff and having a plan for our future needs that gives us the capacity to achieve the health improvement goals we have set Strengthening our management systems to ensure we are making the right investment choices, the release of funding occurs in a timely and efficient manner and supplies get to where they are needed when they are needed Rebuilding and maintaining our health facilities with particular attention to our villages, rural areas and Provinces without hospitals Aligning our governance systems, processes and structures with our corporate objectives Looking at new and better models of support for service delivery including innovative partnerships with other providers and moving resources out into the regions. The above objectives are interdependent and require all aspects to be in place to make the sector work more effectively. We need the staff and supplies, the facilities and the funding to be working as a whole, not considered separate parts. This must be our focus for the next five years.