This week two good stories appeared in the Post Courier about the delivery of health services.
First one is the inititiative by Goroka base hospital to rotate doctors to the rural health centres on a monthly basis. This will ensure a medical officer regularly visits health centres and aid posts and provide training for community health workers or health extension officers working in rural areas. This health outreach program was started in 2005. The visits will be made by general medical officers as well as specialists.
The move by Gorok hospital to take the lead in bringing a doctor to the rual areas will also prevent people from the rural areas flocking to the main hospital which is based in Goroka. The rural people now know that there will be regular visits by a doctor so they do not have to travel long distances to get to the base hospital in Goroka. The general medical officers will see patients and refer those that need further assessment to the main hospital.
The second story is in relation to the urban clinics in the major towns in PNG. The urban clinics in Port Moresby are closed most of the time. This is due to continuous vandalism and lack of essential drugs, consumables and unpaid bills. The health department therefore has decided to let the Churches take over the running of some of these urban clinics. The churches in PNG are the backbone of delivering health and education services to the rural people and this is a move in the right direction. Again this is shows the leadership and insight of Sir Peter Barter.
Both are a very positive stories about health in PNG and it would be great to see more hospitals follow in the footsteps of Goroka base hospital.