Former PNG leader slams state of health sector

6:02 am on 25 May 2017

A former Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta claims a crisis in the nation's health care sector is worsening.

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Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

He said the latest cuts in the 2017 budget follow spending being slashed for the past three years.

Sir Mekere, who is standing in next month's election, said this comes despite promises from Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to protect health and other essential services.

Sir Mekere said there had been a health funding cut in real terms of 40 percent since the 2015 Budget.

He said a critical area was tuberculosis with an estimated 9,000 deaths in the past three years.

Sir Mekere said health experts say Mr O'Neill's cuts have destroyed rural and remote health services.

He said about 1500 women die in childbirth every year, while 45 out of every 1000 babies die and the United Nations estimates about 12,000 children under five die each year.

Sir Mekere said PNG needs a properly planned and adequately funded health reform program with the assistance of its international partners, to undo the damage.