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Enhancing health system efficiency and frontline service delivery critical for PNG’s future: World Bank

New World Bank reports highlight importance of frontline health service delivery in PNG

PORT MORESBY, May 9, 2018 – A new World Bank report says that improving the efficiency of public health spending is of critical importance to ensure that frontline health services are available to all Papua New Guineans.

The PNG Health Financing System Assessment was one of two reports shared during an event in Port Moresby today, and provides a comprehensive analysis of the health financing landscape in PNG, evaluating its financial and institutional sustainability, and examining capacity of the system to fully finance and deliver four key health program areas – human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS response; tuberculosis; malaria; and immunization. These have been largely supported by development partners, whose share of total health spending represented around 20 percent per year between 2006 and 2015.

Aparnaa Somanathan, the World Bank’s Practice Leader for Human Development in the Pacific and PNG, said the report provides a strong base from which PNG can build a stronger health system that delivers better health outcomes for all Papua New Guineans.

“Improving the efficiency of public health spending is of utter importance given the limited resources available for the health sector and the gaps in health system functioning, as evidenced by the high prevalence of drug-resistant Tuberculosis and the low coverage of essential health services,” said Somanathan.

With this in mind, managing the transition to a health sector that is less reliant on external funding is a delicate, but crucial, process that can also be an opportunity to improve service delivery integration nationwide. Better integration ultimately reduces costs and improves patients’ experience with the health system.

The second report shared at the event in Port Moresby was Service Delivery by Health Facilities in PNG, which examines the extent to which PNG’s health care facilities have an adequate level of resources (infrastructure, human resources, medical equipment) to deliver quality health care services to Papua New Guineans. It uses survey data collected from a random sample of health centers and district hospitals (upper primary health facilities) in public and church-run facilities, and explores the efficiency of service delivery in PNG.

Limited availability of and accessibility to quality health services is a critical concern,” said PNG’s Minister for Health & HIV I AIDS, Sir Puka Temu, MP. “Low coverage of health services reflects challenges in facilities’ readiness to deliver quality services. Ensuring service delivery readiness by improving the speed in which funding is delivered, building health workers’ knowledge and skills, and ensuring the availability of drugs and supplies can increase value-for-money from public spending on health.

“Improving service delivery at the frontlines is especially important, given the poorest citizens are more likely to need access to frontline facilities. This report shows that investing in frontline health service delivery in Papua New Guinea is pro-poor” said Patricia Veevers-Carter, The World Bank’s Country Manager for Papua New Guinea.

The event was organized in partnership with the National Department of Health and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT), and included key stakeholders from across PNG’s health sector.

The World Bank currently provides US$15 million in support to the Emergency Tuberculosis Project (ETP) and delivers technical assistance and analytics focused on health financing and service delivery to the National Department of Health. ETP seeks to improve early detection and effective treatment of Tuberculosis in PNG.

The World Bank Group’s support to PNG focuses on a range of areas including agriculture, employment, education, electricity and energy, access to financial services, health, information communications technology, gender, minerals/extractives industries transparency, public finance management, public-private collaboration, and roads and transport, as well as tourism.



Benjamin Brighouse
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