PNG’s primary schools have expanded rapidly in the last decade, but fewer services are now provided by its health clinics. This was revealed in a report released yesterday by NRI and the Australian National University (ANU). The report was launched by Education Secretary Dr Michael Tapo at NRI in Port Moresby. The findings in the report were based on surveys of 360 primary schools and primary health care centres across eight provinces. Professor Stephen Howes, Director of Development Policy Centre of ANU said the findings showed that there has not been much improvement in Health Service in most rural areas, and staff shortage is another problem. It was also found that the free health care policy would not work as it was putting a lot of stress on underfunded, understaffed and transport infrastructure to enable movement of health resources were major impediments. Meanwhile the report also warns that there is a likelihood of inflation in the budgets of some schools and proper auditing is required. It was said that though there has been an increase in the primary schools, there were surprisingly a lot of absenteeism suggesting that ghost students were enrolled for the subsidee money. The report is aimed at providing concrete data in order to improve financial impact in the service delivery in education and health sector. Compared to 45 000 teachers in the country, health has only 9 500 staff to cater for health service delivery in the country.
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