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PNG Health Minister directs WHPHA board to comply with petition

The Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Hon Michael Malabag has direct the Board of Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority (WHPHA) to implement the petition by several health services unions including the National Doctors Association.

 “I now direct WHPHA to begin immediately to fully implement each and every one of the recommendations made by the Multi Sectoral Taskforce.”

 “In undertaking these duties, the board will have the full support of the National Department o Health and other government departments as necessary.”

 “The report makes eight recommendations and I wish to announce that these will be swiftly implemented,” Malabag said. The recommendations by the health workers were summarised:

 1.       A caution to WHPHA management and board about the manner in which they conduct recruitment;

2.       The Secretary for Department of Personnel Management to withdraw some delegated recruitment functions and provide assistance with recruitment practices until those may be audited and WHPHA is competent to resume the function;

3.       Department of Personnel Management (DPM) to assist with review of some employment contracts and with further training for all board members and others as necessary about recruitment practices;

4.       Sectoral agencies immediately conduct orientation workshop on the roles and responsibilities of the PHA Board.  NDoH to provide this service across all PHAs;

5.       DPM to review disciplinary action taken by WHPHA and take carriage of that where necessary;

6.       Outsource some current executive searches to ensure confidence and transparency in the process and all acting appointments to strictly comply with legal requirements.  Any non-citizen appointments to be approved by Secretary DPM;

7.       The Auditor General’s Office to perform a detailed and comprehensive audit covering all areas of concerns in bank accounts, human resource areas, legality of some administrative arrangements to ensure comprehensive coverage of audit oversight and;

8.       The Auditor General’s Office to perform a detailed audit to address any other uncertainties.

“I now wish to address the National Doctors Association and the medical officers of WHPHA that you have had some concerns about governance, management, recruitment, discipline, financial administration and work at WHPHA,” he said.

 In some areas the health workers have thrown light on poor practice, Malabag said add that their results of the efforts have been identified and are being addressed.

 “Western Highlands PHA and the people it serves will be the better for your actions and I thank you,” the minister said. Malabag also said that the Department of Works has not yet finalised its Report.

In the interim, Ambrose Kwaramb of the National Department of Health (NDoH)-with expertise in Infrastructure Management, was dispatched to Mt Hagen to conduct a preliminary assessment of the immediate and long term problems with the capital works.
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