16 Mar 2006

PNG opposition chides government over health policy

10:05 am on 16 March 2006

Papua New Guinea's opposition leader Peter O'Neill says the government is continuing to drag its heels over health issues.

Mr O'Neill called on the government last week to overhaul its public sector management after Treasury revealed the Department of Health underspent its budget by almost 30 per cent last year.

He also says many rural districts have not been properly stocked with drugs or medical supplies.

And, he says people, especially those in rural areas where 85 per cent of the population live, are suffering because of government inaction.

"We are disappointed that the government is taking this matter lightly given the fact that we have a crisis situation with HIV/AIDS and other new diseases that been introduced to the country. We have absolutely no concern from the Department of Health about the matter."

Peter O'Neill says the Prime Minister has a public duty to ensure that basic health care is provided to citizens of the country.