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The Current Health Care System

Papua New Guinea (PNG) currently uses the health care system provided by the Government of PNG, the Churches in PNG, and the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). In addition to this, there are 15 to 20 private operating health facilities. They are funded by sources of tax revenues, Donors, and users. Currently, PNG uses 3.6 percent of its GDP over the healthcare system of the country. Whereas, 20 percent of the utilized funds are procured from the donors and the rest of the funds are procured from the service users of the patients. 

The availability of doctors is as low as one per 17068 people. In addition to this, they are ineffectively distributed. Whereas 85 % of the population resides in the rural part of the country the number of physicians is only 51. As per WHO records there are about 5.3 nurses per 10000 populations. The workforce is characterized by a low number of staff who are demotivated with poor working conditions and low wages. The training of the staff is insufficient and they are distributed inefficiently across the clinics. 30 percent of the skilled staff are occupied in administration and management positions which render the services ineffective. 

PNG Health Service Delivery Challenges

Healthcare delivery is challenged by geographical/natural topology, cultural inconsistency, operational ineffectiveness and infrastructural inadequacy. In addition to this, there has been an increase in critical diseases. However, the challenges are more severe due to other internal and external factors including funding for the short, medium, and long-term expenses. The PESTLE analysis will help to generate more critical insight into the overall challenges. 

Political: The operational inefficiency of the national and provincial governmental bodies has resulted in unchecked criminal activities which have restricted the ease of delivery of health services. 

Economic: The economic condition has been improving through the improvement of infrastructure relative to the conditions prior to 2010. However, the GDP is an average of 4.14 percent. The minimum wage has been 140 PGK in 2017 or 55 Australian Dollars.

Social: The current population of the PNG is 7.6 million people. The geographical boundaries have given rise to isolated clusters of villages that have developed their own lifestyle, language, and social norms. Collaborating with the tribes and the technologically influenced city conglomerate. Further, this has given rise to the high volume of crimes and civil fights, hooliganism, and robbery. 

Technological: All the above factors have logically resulted in restrictions towards the development of the national infrastructure required for health care. Telecommunication has seen a high development after the reforms made in 2008 through the rollout of Digicell’s network. However, the penetration remains highly restricted to 47% in wireless and 1.9 % in wired, and 16% in 3g/4g services. Road transport infrastructure is limited to 25 percent of the entire road network for all-season travel. The electricity demand is rising at a rate of 5.5 percent whereas the supply is low and mostly relies on renewable sources. However, infrastructure is inadequate to suffice the demand.

Legal: The legal scenario is strained through its civil turmoil, crime, and hooliganism. Civil clashes are prevalent in the rural areas as well as in the township. Strict policing infrastructure is essential. The corruption rank is 136 is very high. 

Environmental: Geographically, PNG is fragmented by hills, rivers, and forests. The unwinding, dangerous and rocky roads make it critically challenging to lay the foundation for solid transportation infrastructure. However, this challenge has deteriorated through cultural inconsistency that has been present for the ages. 

The other challenges are as follows: -

a) The increase of cases pertaining to critical diseases like various communicable diseases, HIV epidemic, Cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. The critical communicable diseases found in ONG are malaria, tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases, cholera, acute respiratory disease, and the general epidemics of HIV [1, 2, and 4]. This has resulted in 62 percent of reported nationwide deaths. Further, this has been aggravated by the lack of clean water for 33 percent of the PNG population.
 
b) Investors are further demotivated due to the high risk of operation pertaining to employee and business wellbeing. Donor’s funds are still available with the PNG government which has been utilized towards procurement of medical supplies, instruments, payment of wages, etc. However, they are highly inconsistent which results in out-of-pocket expenses for the locals who in most cases cannot afford the cost. This results in the inaccessibility of health care services.

 

c) Due to the lack of locally available specialized personnel, the cost of health care is still out of reach for the general public dwelling in the towns and rural areas. However, if specialized personnel is available from the locals spanning both towns and rural areas, then the effectiveness of service delivery can be increased even by keeping the operational costs low.
 

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