3 May 2006

PNG health funding may be raised

7:52 pm on 3 May 2006

Papua New Guinea's health minister says he's optimistic that the government will find the funds to make urgent improvements to public health.

Sir Peter Barter says a decline in staff numbers is threatening the provision of even basic services especially in rural areas with 50 percent of posts having to close.

He says packages for doctors and other health workers need to be attractive enough to make trained staff stay in the country.

And he says it needs at least 100,000 US dollars to improve the standards of its main hospitals.

He says he wants to see changes to the health sector, preferably before the next election.

"What we can do is to put in a plan to come up with an amendment within the national health plan to be able to cater for this and overcome the problems that obviously exist. We can pass legislation."

PNG's minister of health, Sir Peter Barter