Priority to health promotion | PNG Loop

At no time in the history of the National Health Plans has it now been the seventh that has put health promotion at the forefront as in this 2021-2023 plan.

At the closing of the workshop recently at the APEC Haus in Port Moresby, the public health team as their top priority in terms of prevention also listed health promotion.

Recommendations will be discussed at regional workshops later in the year; however, health promotion activities are likely to receive greater financial support in the 2023 health budget.

During the panel discussions, Acting Assistant Secretary for National Public Health Ken Wai challenged the public health team, most of them from provincial health authorities, to make prevention the one of his priorities by returning to their villages and communities and doing simple things to make a difference.

For example, lead villages and communities to put up pig fences, dig drains and plant flower gardens to beautify villages and communities, promote the healthy island concept.

Wai also challenged them to innovate to address growing lifestyle diseases and trauma-related injuries that are costly to treat and time-consuming for health workers. For example, make proposals to the National Executive Board to support initiatives such as a tax on sugar and alcohol.

He added that trauma is often the result of violence, such as in tribal fighting and gender-based violence.

Wai said public health goals make up more than 60 percent of the National Health Plan 2021-2030, which shows that public health plays a crucial role in the delivery of health services in this country.

“KRA 1s and KRA 4s talk about public health coming back to the community where it matters most. KRA 1 is about healthier communities through effective engagement.

“KRA 1 is about communities. We all come from villages; the village must be healthy. That’s where the families are, that’s where the mothers are, that’s where the fathers are, that’s where the grandfathers are, that’s where the children are, that’s where we get our food, that’s where we get our water,” Wa said.

He said services such as cancer hospitals are expensive to run compared to preventative measures, which are less expensive but can prevent many people from getting diseases like cancer.

Wai urged health workers to think about going to villages to address the root causes of illnesses rather than just focusing on curative services.

“Find out how they prepare food, where they get water, if they use proper toilets and if they live in good homes.”

The second key result area of ​​the National Health Plan (KRA 2) relates to effective partnerships and workshop participants were challenged to think about how they can best work with their partners to ensure that services are delivered and KRA 1 results are achieved.

These partners include churches, NGOs, development partners, and district and local governments.

He said more outreach was needed to make people aware of their responsibilities, such as ensuring they live in clean communities.

For example, Wai said, people are selling betel nuts everywhere and bus stops are filthy with betel junk. Not only that, but there is a downside to this; mouth cancer is on the rise.

He said: “Everyone wants cancer hospitals, but they are very expensive to operate, while these cancers are preventable, so let’s be innovative. Start with the community to create awareness. Prevention is better than cure!”

“We are not responsible for the environment, the water supply and the roads, but we can encourage the communities to plant flower gardens, to make the drainage systems, to build the water supply, to talk to counselors and DDAs to bring water Let’s change our attitudes, let’s change our priorities.

Besides health promotion, the Public Health Division of the Ministry of Health covers other areas such as environmental health, family health programs and malaria, leprosy, HIV/Sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis and lifestyle diseases.

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