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National Health Minister visits Bougainville

National Minister for Health Hon. Jelta Wong visited Bougainville this week accompanied by a delegation from the Australian High Commission.

Their visit to the regioin was to consult with the ABG Health Minister and Secretary on issues around the Health sector in Bougainville and to strengthen ties between the ABG and the National Government in terms of improving the delivery of better health services to the people of Bougainville.

“Our visit is to ensure that communication between the ABG and the National Government must be fluid because we all want the same outcome and that is a better health service delivery to our people of Bougainville,” Hon Jelta Wong, National Minister for Health said.

“We can only do that when we work in partnership.”

He apologized on behalf of the New Zealand and Japanese Governments that were not able to accompany the team due to unfortunate circumstances. But their visit was greatly appreciated by the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

President Hon. Ishmael Toroama welcomed the delegates on their arrival and thanked the National Government and the Australian Government for their continued support and partnership in improving the health sector in Bougainville.

President Toroama stressed that the ABG Department of Health had launched the Maternal Child Health grant the previous week of which the K4.5million grant from the PNG Partnership Fund (PPF) will assist the department to improve maternal and child health programs and increase immunization coverage across Bougainville. He further thanked the National Department of Health, DFAT, NZAID and Global Alliance on Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) for providing the funding for this program.

“My government through the Health Ministry is doing all we can to enhance the health services, health programs and achieve good health outcomes. Your visit to Bougainville is a significant milestone to support our efforts to improve clinical services in the hospitals,” Hon Ishmael Toroama said.

Hon. Jelta Wong's  visit to the region is also to follow up on a meeting that was held between the National Department of Health (NDoH) and ABG Departmetnt of Health Secretaries regarding the Buka Hospital last year .

The delegation had a brief meeting with the ABG Department of Health staff and toured the Buka General Hospital as well.

This opened a dialogue between the staff of the ABG Health Department and the Health Minister to consult on better  ways to look at key issues affecting the hospital and a need for upgrading of the hospital status from a Level four to a Level  five provincial hospital status.

The delegation will return to Port Moresby on Thursday.

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