Papua New Guinea’s rural health service and health infrastructure is largely owned by faith based organisations. The Churches Medical Council (CMC) is the main body representing all churches in PNG involved in rural health service delivery. Furthermore, I do not know of one Community Health Worker (CHW) School operated by the Government that is functional. All the ones currently operating are own and operated by churches. So it makes sense and logical to me that the rural health service delivery in PNG must be given to churches.
For example, in my own district, Wapenamanda in the Enga Province, the only rural hospital (120 bed capacity) is operated by the Gutnius Lutheran Church (GLC). The 4 square church is also now beginning to set up its own health centre and soon maybe a CHW training school. The other major health facility is operated by the Catholic church. As far as I know, none of the government operated health facilities are functional. What are shame. I don’t know whether to blame the district health services or the National Department of Health. Maybe our own member of parliament is not doing enough for health service delivery.
Nationally, I think the same story will be resonated by the rural population.
I read an article in The Australian some days ago about rural health service in Brazil being given totally to churches to handle. The result was remarkable – large improvement in their health statistics, compared to the days when the government was doing. A good lesson for PNG I reckon.
Should the rural health service delivery in PNG be given to the churches to handle? ABSOLUTELY!! That is my firm belief. The CMC is the officially recognised body which receives money from the national budget from the government so all churches in PNG involved in health service delivery in the rural areas must become part of the CMC and push for this agenda. All the rural health infrastructure is already own by the churches and it makes sense to give them more money and more control over rural health programs.
If the government of PNG is really serious about rural health service delivery, they must put their money where their mouth is and give greater control and financial assistance to the CMC.