By Vasinatta Yama- EMTV News, Mt Hagen
National Planning Minister, Richard Maru, is appealing to the mainline Christian Churches in Papua New Guinea, to help the government shift the focus of curing diseases, to preventing them.
Minister Maru said for too long the Health Department was focusing on treating patients than preventing illnesses from occurring.
He said this during the 6th graduation of Kungumanda Foursquare Community Health Workers Training School in Enga Province recently.
Minister Richard Maru says the entire health focus in the Country is wrong.
He said millions of kina have been budgeted for health programs, but PNG is still facing high maternal mortality rates, cervical cancer and the rise in polio infection.
Minister Maru said the focus should be shifted from just curing sicknesses to preventing them through immunization programs, awareness’s, health education and nutrition.
Papua New Guinea’s rate of immunization stands at 30 percent, while the rest of the world’s immunization rate is at 80 percent, with the exception of some African countries.
Lack of immunization can cause infectious diseases such as polio to return, something the country is currently facing.
Minister Richard Maru said the country should be proactive in preventing such diseases.PNG is currently facing an aging workforce crisis.
Minister Maru says the official Health Department’s statistics show that the PNG health workforce is facing a shortage of at least 3,000 nurses.
To conclude his speech, Minister Maru told the graduating Community Health Workers, who will be on the front line to address these issues, to be gospel missionaries as well.
The Minister later officially opened a unit, funded by the National Planning Ministry, through the former Minister, Charles Abel.
The unit was funded at a cost of K450, 000.