Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare opened the 2017 National Health Conference today, with a reiterated call on participants to make use of the opportunity to discuss and plan strategies to achieve the conference objectives.
The five-day conference convened under the theme ‘Reforming Health’ brings together health officials and stakeholders to discuss ways of improving health service delivery to provide the necessary support to those most vulnerable and hard to reach nationwide.
“Reforming Health is a commitment. It is a journey that we all must achieve together by working in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders and pursuing an integrative approach. Reforming Health is also about how we interact with our patients or their families on a daily basis. It is about us. It is about you and me. It is about our community and about our future.”
“As such, the National Health Conference is an opportunity for us to convene, review and reflect upon the shortfalls, achievements and aspirations that we have. I implore that you take this opportunity to harness the strengths and weaknesses that each participants share; and to learn and improve on the past challenges faced by each and every one of us.”
“Participants, reform is critical. It is the foundation to achieving better health outcomes for our people. We are continuously reminded that the people are the beneficiaries of the services we provide, as healthy citizens guarantee a healthy nation,” the Prime Minister said.
He said as a matter of priority, the Democratic Coalition for Change Government health policies are targeted at supporting service coverage and improving the quality of services.
“The DCCG health policies include building and refurbishing clinics and hospitals, updating and reviewing schemes of service for doctors, nurses and paramedics. DCCG also prioritises the review and updating of the following legislation platforms: Health Services Act, Mental Health Act, Child Protection Act and Competent Authority.”
Prime Minister Sogavare said reforming health also includes structural and sectoral reform within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and on that note announced that the Ministry is working on a program to reform its Role Delineation Policy and Organisational Restructure.
“The Role Delineation Policy attempts to define roles of the different level of facilities. It defines the human resource requirement and skills mix component and also defines infrastructure and equipment requirements in order to deliver quality services.
“The organisational reform is to enable the Ministry to implement the role delineation policy more efficiently and equitably.”
Within that context, the Prime Minister said the 2017 National Health Conference is a time for the Ministry of Health and Development Partners and other stakeholders to come together and discuss how the government can improve its service delivery to decrease of preventable deaths at hospitals, reduce infant mortality rates, reduce maternal deaths and reduce non-communicable disease rates.
He said this year’s conference will also enable discussion of ways to improve planning and budget execution.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity emphasise the importance of the conference to also discuss the allocation of human resources to where they are needed, how to address performance and absenteeism and how support is provided for provincial health teams to implement their health plans to ensure the rural population receive the service they deserve.
He said financial performance and how to improve budget execution to ensure efficient use of scarce resources is also a critical component in the implementation of all government services and ought to be discussed.
“It is on this note that I reiterate my earlier call to each and every one of you to make use of the National Health Conference, to discuss and plan strategies to improve health coverage, improve quality and strengthen partnerships so that Health services continue to improve for the sake of our people and our country,” the Prime Minister said.