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Brain drain in health workforce leading to crisis

PAUL BARKER, director of the Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs, says successive governments over the last 20 years haven’t given the health sector the priority it deserves.

The Institute was responding to a World Bank report stating that within 10 years, 50% of the health sector workforce in PNG will have either retired or moved elsewhere.

A consultant for the World Bank, Ian Morris, said staffing in the health workforce is at crisis point.  He’s called for a whole of government approach to tackle issues such as training.

Saying the sector had largely been ignored by politicians, Mr Barker said “with inadequate support for human resource capacity we have been going backwards.”

He said there had been a brain drain of PNG medical staff heading to Australia and elsewhere. “So that’s an added challenge,” he said

Mr Barker says in rural areas medical staff numbers are low and many nurses and midwives are in their late fifties or early sixties.

Source: Radio New Zealand International, 5 October


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Reginald Renagi

I like the suggestion by Peter.

I think Sir Isi Kevau would be an ideal choice for a future Vice-Regal appointment for PNG.

Peter Kranz

Sir Isi Kevau KBE, Dean of the Medical School, UPNG and renowned heart specialist, is one of the unsung heroes of PNG.

He is world-recognised for his work in heart surgery, malaria treatment and tropical medicine.

He is a humble man, but his expertise has saved many lives. Bucking the trend of good PNG doctors moving to greener pastures, Sir Isi remains in PNG.

He has been the personal medical adviser to Michael Somare, but I believe his medical reputation is greater than any political points that may be scored.

His name has been mentioned as a possible future Governor-General. I believe this would be a just reward for a throughly professional and honest man who has dedicated his life to saving the lives of others.

Joe Wasia

It's very true. All the hospitals in PNG are in run-down state. The health professionals - like doctors, nurses, environmental health officers and CHW - are tired of working in such health facilities.

Many are moving to other workerforce or move overseas. Government must give the health sector a priority it deserves.

I believe better health services will have healthy people with a healthy economy.

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