I was listening to the health minister, Hon. Sasa Zibe speak yesterday at ILRH and he mentioned these phrases or words in his short address to the staff. Phrases such as parallel health systems, collaboration, partnership and sharing resources, especially parallel health system. He mentioned that phrase (parallel health systems) so may times and I figured it must be something affecting rural health system delivery so decided to a little research. Having parallel health systems, reminds of those science fiction thriller movies where you have a parallel universe! Two possibilities! One is real and the other not real. Or both real? Depends on who you are and where you are. Either you exist on the first universe and then something happened and the existence of two possibilities developed. Two existence in parallel. Or two possible existence. If you happen to meet yourself from the other universe or dimension, what will happen? CONFLICT! Remember the Jet Lee movie where he fights with himself from a parallel universe?
After reading a few documents off the net regarding parallel health systems in PNG, I think there may be a conflict going on. Something happened back in our health history that caused us to take the wrong (or right?) path and created the possibility of two existence. What PNG’s health system/status should have been and what the current situation is. And now we have people from the other existence advising us, guiding us and controlling us in some way to bring us back to the first possible existence so the two health systems/status can be one.
But like all science fiction movies on parallel universe, there are those who seek fortune and fame. The mercenaries and the misfits. We have to watch out for these people while embracing the good guys.
Can two parallel health systems exists in PNG? I think there are not two but several. The churches medical agencies, NGOs, private clinics and donor funded projects, apart from the National Health Department. Really, all other health care providers should work in line with the National Department of Health and not create something from scratch that is not sustainable.
Either working in partnership and not duplicating responsibilities, sharing resources because we do not have everything, collaborating and not competing or not creating parallel health systems, we have to start somewhere. Talking openly about our problems and trusting each other to complete their given responsibilities. Talking and working from a round table. I think we can change. Maybe not Singapore or Malaysia or Australia but somewhere better than where we are now.
Some updates: 15/10/2010
Australia will cut down a third of its advisors in AusAid programs in PNG over the next 2 years. Reviews on AusAid programs to build capacity in PNG has shown money spent with nothing to show for it. Foreign minister Kevin Rudd has not specify where the cuts will be made.
Planning Minister Tiensten has called on AusAid and other donor agencies to work with National Government development goals and not create parallel systems. He highlighted that donor funds need to be tied into the national annual budget to fund development programs.