16 Feb 2015

O'Neill urges PNG to think seriously about healthcare

3:55 pm on 16 February 2015

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister has urged the country to think more seriously about healthcare.

Peter O'Neill made the comment while opening the Port Moresby International Hospital, which has finally launched after years of delays.

The Prime Minister lamented that despite having good health facilities, PNG has often lacked leadership to allow these facilities to operate properly.

"Papua New Guineans must think seriously about healthcare in our country. Many times we are playing Russian Roulette with our health issues in our country and this is a very dangerous game. Issues like TB and HIV AIDS are prevalent in our society and our communities. We must hear the messages that our health professionals are telling us."

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. Photo: Supplied

Peter O'Neill says his government alone cannot provide comprehensive public health services, but that it must partner with the private sector.

He says the new International Hospital is an example of such partnership

Peter O'Neill described the opening of the hospital as bittersweet given the hospital facility could have been up and running 17 years ago if not for issues of politics and lack of commitment by previous governments.

The Prime Minister has aligned the project with his government's commitment to improving healthcare across PNG.

He said that despite having good health facilities, PNG often lacked leadership to enable facilities to operate properly.

"You can see that example here in Port Moresby, the Port Moresby General Hospital is now running properly as a hospital for the first time in many years. Same in Enga, in Mount Hagen, in Goroka, Nonga Hospital in East New Britain and in many parts of the country because the government is taking healthcare as one of our most important priorities during this term of parliament."

The hospital will offer specialist care often sought overseas, such as heart surgery.