7 May 2008

PNG's health minister says Port Moresby needs another hospital

9:02 am on 7 May 2008

Papua New Guinea's Health Minister, Sasa Zibe, says Port Moresby needs another general hospital because the old one has "ruptured" under increasing demand and a lack of planning.

Mr Zibe inspected Port Moresby General Hospital in response to media reports the hospital was so underfunded that sick children were going days without milk, food and other necessary supplies.

Doctors at the hospital are rationing powdered milk and nutritional supplements for the young because they simply cannot meet growing demand.

The children's tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malnutrition ward needs donations of milk powder, UHT milk, canned food and rice.

Mr Zibe said he was disappointed doctors had to ration supplies but said it came down to budgets failing to forecast PNG's 2.3 per cent population increase over past years.

United Nations figures show PNG has consistently averaged population increases around 2.3 per cent annually since 2000.

Sasa Zibe says he would approach his government to tackle the issue.

Meanwhile, the hospital's Chief Executive Officer said underfunding was always an issue for PNG hospitals.