Health & Education
From The Report: Papua New Guinea 2014
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Health care in PNG is poised to see major changes. Perhaps the most significant recent development has been the introduction of fee-free health care. The government committed $8.13m to the programme in 2014, which began officially on February 23 of that year. The refurbishment of Port Moresby General Hospital is receiving major government support, as it is hoped that the renewed facility will act as a catalyst for improvements throughout the country. PNG needs to put the resources being committed to good use while they are available and not waste the political capital that is being expended. If the planned reforms are successful, they could have a widespread social and economic impact. Meanwhile the government continues to view the improvement of the education system as a top priority. It has set aside $4.06m in 2014 for the Higher Education Institution Recapitalisation programme, which aims to establish a task force to improve university infrastructure. To address the shortage of teachers in PNG the government is increasing salaries and is actively recruiting foreign staff. The country is committed to the sector in terms of political will and increasing expenditure, and over time schools have seen great improvements as resource wealth enters the economy and supports the national budget. This chapter contains interviews with Pascoe Kase, Secretary of Health; Grant Muddle, CEO, Port Moresby General Hospital; and Joe Williams Lalie, Executive Director, International Education Agency.