PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Church Urges State to Release Healthcare Funds

PORT MORESBY, NOVEMBER 25, 2014(CISA) – Archbishop Stephen Reichert, Chairman of Catholic Church Health Services (CCHS), has called on the government to release salary and operational funds to the Churches to boost health services.

He said that “health services in Papua New Guinea are suffering because the Government is not releasing funds promptly enough.”

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to health care in the latest budget.  However, we urge the Government to release funds on time to Churches who run health facilities in partnership with the Government Department of Health,” said Archbishop Reichert in a statement sent to CISA November 25.

He said that over the past 18 months there have been frequent delays in the release of salary and operational grants for Church-run facilities and as a result, “many Church health workers are not paid for up to two or three months at a time. Surely this injustice and violation of the rights of Church health care providers is avoidable.”

“The constant delay in funding is unacceptable to the Church and disrespectful to the Church health workers who provide lifesaving services,” he said.

Archbishop Reichert explained that the Churches provide close to 50 percent of all health care in Papua New Guinea; in remote and rural areas, where the majority of the people in the country live, that figure increases to around 80 percent.”

“I often hear that the Government seeks to work in closer partnership with Churches. Catholic Church Health Services (CCHS) welcomes this,” he said.

“By providing health services, the Churches actually save the Government money, but more importantly, they provide health services to people in areas the Government cannot reach.”

“On the Government’s part a clear expression of partnership is to pay the Churches on time, every time and according to budget so that the Churches can pay their workers on time.”

“If the Government is truly handing down a budget for families and the whole community, it must meet its basic commitment of paying Church health workers in a timely and just manner.”

Archbishop Reichert noted that the Government’s commitment of ensuring equal pay of Church and government workers has not yet fully happened.



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