PRI­VATE COM­PA­NIES BOOST PA­PUA NEW GUINEA’S HEALTH SEC­TOR

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Services -

De­vel­op­ing health care stan­dards and for­eign in­vest­ment in Pa­pua New Guinea are ex­pand­ing the busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to pri­vate sec­tor health­care providers. Since set­ting up in PNG nearly 20 years ago, In­ter­na­tional SOS has grown to be­come a ma­jor provider of med­i­cal and se­cu­rity as­sis­tance. It has are more than 400 staff in the coun­try, with fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing an in­ter­na­tional stan­dard clinic, a med­i­cal re­sponse and evac­u­a­tion team, and an emer­gency med­i­cal fa­cil­ity. In­ter­na­tional SOS PNG Gen­eral Manager Bruce Clark said the com­pany’s growth was backed by the in­crease in re­sources and re­lated ser­vices com­pa­nies en­ter­ing the coun­try. ‘Many of our global en­ergy, min­ing and in­fra­struc­ture clients were mov­ing into PNG to in­vest in the coun­try’s vast re­sources,’ Clark tells Busi­ness Ad­van­tage PNG. ‘In a coun­try where health­care stan­dards are still de­vel­op­ing, we have worked with com­pa­nies to en­sure the health and safety of their staff.’

Global trend ‘Pri­vate part­ner­ships, where com­pa­nies work with ex­ist­ing health providers to sup­port and strengthen their op­er­a­tions, are part of a global trend,’ says Ge­off Sc­ahill, Gen­eral Manager Pri­vate Sec­tor Devel­op­ment, at Abt JTA. Abt JTA fa­cil­i­tates public-pri­vate pro­grams be­tween min­ing com­pa­nies, gov­ern­ment agen­cies and health care providers, of­fer­ing health im­pact as­sess­ments, scop­ing stud­ies, on­site health ser­vices, em­ployee med­i­cal testing and hos­pi­tal man­age­ment.

Not just for spe­cial­ists In PNG, pri­vate sec­tor in­volve­ment in health­care is not the sole pre­serve of health­care spe­cial­ists. Con­struc­tion com­pany Horni­brook NGI, for in­stance, owns a 56% share in the Lae In­ter­na­tional Hos­pi­tal, which it founded 2009, pro­vid­ing ser­vices rang­ing from ac­ci­dent and emer­gency to ob­stet­rics and pae­di­atrics. In South­ern High­lands Prov­ince, Oil Search Limited has achieved im­pres­sive re­sults in malaria con­trol, and has es­tab­lished a foun­da­tion to ex­tend its health con­tri­bu­tion to PNG.

What of the public sec­tor? While there is no ques­tion that pri­vate ser­vices have grown partly due to the poor qual­ity of PNG’S public health sec­tor, the public sys­tem is mak­ing progress. The PNG Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted it­self to free public health­care in 2014, while ma­jor hos­pi­tals such as Port Moresby Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal are re­ceiv­ing more fund­ing, with K1.4 bil­lion com­mit­ted to health spend­ing in the coun­try’s 2014 bud­get.

Public and pri­vate sec­tor join forces A new ini­tia­tive launched in late 2013 in­volves the pri­vate sec­tor join­ing with health de­part­ments and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments in a public health cam­paign to erad­i­cate malaria in PNG by 2050. The PNG In­dus­try Malaria Ini­tia­tive (PIMI) brings to­gether ma­jor re­source op­er­a­tors to cre­ate public-pri­vate part­ner­ships with their host prov­inces. Com­pa­nies in­volved in­clude Exxonmo­bil, New Bri­tain Palm Oil, St Bar­bara, W R Car­pen­ter and Newcrest Min­ing.

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