Post Courier: 22/02/10 By MAUREEN GERAWA
A WORLD class, fully equipped modern hospital is to be built in Papua New Guinea in a partnership involving the Government, the private sector and not-for-profit organisations around the world. It will be known as the Pacific Medical Centre (PMC) and will be located on 2000 hectares of land between Port Moresby’s Six-Mile area and Bautama in Central Province. Plans are for the project to be launched in April. Construction of the hospital will take two years.
At the weekend, a team from the United States, including the key senior officials on the planned K500 million hospital, travelled to Papua New Guinea to meet with senior officials of the Department of Health, senior doctors and officials of the Port Moresby General Hospital and the University of Papua New Guinea to begin work on the Cabinet-endorsed project.
The overseas team includes specialist doctors from Stanford University Medical Centre, Loma Linda University Medical Centre as well as experienced hospital architects and engineers from hospital design firm, Fletcher Thompson.
Health Minister Sasa Zibe, when announcing the project on Friday, said he was fully aware of the criticisms that would be coming against this initiative but PNG had to move forward by setting higher benchmarks for its people to aim for rather than moving around in a circle as it had for more than 30 years. “It will be developed as the nation’s first world class, fully serviced modern hospital and one of the Asia Pacific Region’s leading centres of excellence in providing first rate tertiary health care services, medical education, capacity building and training programs for local hospital administrators, doctors and nurses,’’ said Mr Zibe.
He said to show its commitment the NEC approved K20 million in November for the project, which will improve and revolutionise health care services, hospital administration, medical education/training and outreach programs for the people. A key component of the project will be education and training which will begin in June. “As part of the project, we will have hospital administration professionals trained in America where up to 50 graduates will be trained in a year over a three-year program,’’ he said. “In addition to this, there will be doctors exchange and training programs in American and Canadian hospitals, training of 10 – 15 local doctors for up to three months resulting in between 70 – 90 trained medical professionals a year for the next three years.’’
He said the 300-bed hospital would initially be linked to all regional, provincial and district hospitals so that the people will benefit from this state-of-the art medical and teaching facility.
Cabinet has recommended the establishment of a project co-ordinating committee called the Pacific Medical Centre Co-ordinating Committee (PMCCC) under the auspices of the Ministerial Economic Committee to work with the team leader/project developer to co-ordinate the government’s participation in this project.
Mr Zibe said many people in the country die while still seeking funds to be able to travel overseas and get specialist medical help or even while sorting out visa related issues and by having a modern hospital, patients would not have to travel overseas for specialist care. He directed Health Secretary Dr Clement Malau and his management team to incorporate this project into the National Health Plan and work with the project management team to facilitate its implementation because the country was in great need of proper infrastructure in the health sector.