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13 February 2018

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I suspect I am one of the advisers to whom Chris refers and I am still in PNG but no longer as an adviser but working in a province in the health system.

The health system is in disarray, there is widespread corruption particularly in the procurement and distribution of drugs, budgets have been cut although, through smoke and mirrors, it appears that they have increased.

And, while per capita funding is reasonable for a developing economy, the way the funds are spent particularly by the National Department of Health means that not much actually flows to where it is needed.

Chris is right in saying it is a disgrace and there is little prospect of change. The corruption is far too endemic.

In fact, many people working here say that there are two countries - Port Moresby, as flash as any major capital city, and PNG, where preventable disease is close to being out of control.

Funding cuts by both the PNG government and donors have seen a dramatic rise in the number of cases of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, including multiple drug resistant TB, and hospitals do whatever they can to support their clinicians, who often have to work without the basic drugs and consumables they need.

I wish I had the answers to how the health system can be fixed, but the best I can do is assist in making sure care is available to those who need it.

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