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ADB grants K635 million loan to support PNG health programs

HospitalSTAFF REPORTER | Xinhua | Edited

MANILA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of K635 million to support the delivery of accessible, affordable and high quality health services in Papua New Guinea.

The financing package comprises two regular loans and a concessional loan to help PNG's efforts in achieving universal health coverage.

Despite a period of high economic growth in recent years, averaging 6% from 2006-15 but declining in recent years, the ADB said PNG failed to achieve its millennium development targets for maternal and child health.

Life expectancy is low at 65 years and diseases including stroke, heart disease, pneumonia and neonatal conditions are chronic.

Yesterday PNG Attitude reported UNICEF as saying that malnutrition is the leading cause of deaths among children under the age of five and that 45% of PNG children have stunted growth while 24% are underweight and 14% suffer from moderate to severe forms of wasting, which can be potentially life threatening.

The ADB said limited investment in the country's health infrastructure and poor health sector governance are undermining service delivery.

The program includes financing to support critical reforms enabling the long-term sustainability and effective use of health sector financing.

Deficiencies in health sector governance, weak public financial management, and fragmented funds flows will also be addressed, the ADB said.

The program will also support decentralised health service delivery by focusing on building capacity financial management and better planning and budgeting.

"It will strengthen health service delivery by rehabilitating rural healthcare infrastructure, improving the availability of medical supplies, supporting new health partnerships, and using smart technologies to support digital information systems," the ADB said.

Comments

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Lindsay F Bond

Some portion of "rehabilitating rural healthcare infrastructure" might be nonrecurrent. For the 2017 election as I recall, candidate O'Neill outlined upgrade works for some health facilities, a pledge that seemed to have no mention of building maintenance.

Yet since the 2017 election, as to "improving the availability of medical supplies", quite the reverse has become evident, with a likelihood any 'found funds' will be put to use in recurrent categories.

If there is to be a glimmer of hope proposed by "supporting new health partnerships", will that be by programming cost improvement, curtailing financial flagrants, regenerating compacts with community expectancies, or invoking intercession of unverifiable casuistry?

Will Self

Trust the Health Department with this loan money? Good luck with that. Still, Borneo Pharmaceuticals probably needs a top up - again.

I see that there was a confirmed case of polio last week.

Philip Fitzpatrick

What happens when the loan is spent?

Does everything return to the parlous state it was before?

You can't run something like healthcare on loans and handouts. There has to be sufficient recurrent funds in the budget.

This is a classic PNG approach. Buy a car with a loan and then have no money to put petrol in it.

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