PNG minister touts 'e-health' as answer to medical shortfalls

8:36 pm on 29 October 2018

Papua New Guinea's embattled Health Minister says mobile technology is the answer to the country's health system woes.

Sir Puka Temu

Sir Puka Temu Photo: AFP

Dr Puka Temu told PNG's EM TV that the opening up of telecommunications across PNG offers a new way of delivering health services.

He said a new 'e-health system' will help to address ongoing issues like shortage of health specialists at the district level.

"So gynaecologist here can communicate with Goilala (a rural district in Central Province) when the mother is having a difficult delivery," he explained.

"The obstetrician will communicate through IT, face to face, instruct the midwife out there how to deliver the complicated delivery, to save the mother and the child."

Meanwhile, Dr Temu is yet to respond publicly to an extensive report by EM TV journalist Scott Waide about chronic shortages of basic medicines and supplies in the country's health facilities.

Mr Waide's Facebook report last Thursday exposed how shortages of antibiotics and painkillers are common across the country.

This came after local media reports that Dr Temu denied that there were shortages of drugs in PNG.

But Dr Temu said that healthcare would benefit as the entire country was gradually covered by IT (Information Technology) infrastructure.

"So business will be cheaper, government services like e-commerce, e-agriculture, e-education, e-health - I think this is the way for the country to go."

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