The Public Accounts CommitteeInquiry this morning proceeded withthe inquiry intothe Health Department‘s funding towards church-run health centres.
The Committee was told that 80 percent of Health Services are provided by church-run health centers in rural areas.
PAC Chairman John Hickey wanted to know if church-run health facilities were giventhe necessary funding fromthe government asthey have extendedthe government’s reach in terms of providing basic health care and treatment in rural areas.
Health Secretary Pasco Kase revealed that about K134 million was initially requested bythe Health Department to addressthe salary gap between health workers in towns and those in church–run health centres.
Mr. Kase gave a daunting example that a nurse working in a major hospital gets K100 while a nurse performingthe same duty in a rural health centre, gets K70.
The Department was slapped inthe face with a Budget appropriation of only K106 million for church health in this year’s budget. This is K28 million less than whatthey initially requested for.
However, Mr. Kase assuredthe Committee thatthe government’still recognisesthe efforts of church–run health centres wheretheir salaries are accessed directly from Waigani, unlike with Provincial Governments that resulted in delayed payments.
He said now registered church–run health facilities withthe Health Department receive government’subsidies to supporttheir operations.
The Public Accounts CommitteeInquiry has been adjourned to next year. The evidence and information collected today and onwards will assistthe Committee to proceed with a Special Audit of church – run Health Centres.
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