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Western Health Programs transition vital in health service delivery

Health services providers in Western Province have agreed on a way forward for the coordination of services for the next two years.

At a meeting in Kiunga recently, service providers met to endorse a transition plan that outlines the future activities of two health partnership programs currently operating in Western - the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) Middle and South Fly Health Program (CMSFHP) and the North Fly Health Services Development Program (NFHSDP).

Both Programs will finish in 2018 and partner organisations have been discussing the best way to maintain and further improve health outcomes once the Programs end.
The 2015 Sector Performance Annual Review released by the National Department of Health in June shows Western Province in the top five best performing provinces in 2015. This is a significant improvement from the 2013 report when Western was ranked last and testament to the health outcomes achieved by these programs.

Director of Rural Health Services in Western, Mrs Alice Honjepari opened the meeting. She remarked that “This meeting is important because we will table and discuss a way forward for health in the province particularly the North Fly and CMCA regions. We must bear in mind the challenges we face every day trying to deliver basic health services to the population”.
A critical focus for all partners is ensuring that the collaborative approach established through the Programs continues. Catholic Health Services Manager, Sr Anna Sanginawa said “Districts need to work together for a successful transition”.
The Programs are partnerships with local health service providers: Provincial Health Office, District Health staff in North Fly, Middle Fly and South Fly Districts, Catholic Health Services and Evangelical Church of PNG Health Services. Both Programs are managed by Ok Tedi Development Foundation

(OTDF), funded by the CMCA portion of the Western Province People’s Dividend Trust Fund and Ok Tedi Mining Ltd with Abt Associates (formerly Abt JTA) as the implementing partner.
A midline evaluation of CMSFHP in 2015 showed that the Program has been positively received by communities and health workers thus far. The attribution of improvements is both from the outreach services provided by the Program team as well as increased service delivery at health facilities.
OTDF’s Manager of Program Services, Mr Eric Kuman said “We have to find a sustainable way of moving the health delivery forward. We need to collaborate to find that way forward”.
A key focus for the remainder of the Programs is to move away from direct inputs and towards working with partners to identify impediments to achieving sustainable health services. The transition plan outlines the outcomes required to maintain achievements beyond 2018.

Three key outcomes were agreed in the meeting. Health service partners agreed to continue to work collaboratively to plan and coordinate health services to communities in Western Province.
Partners also agreed that efforts must be made to ensure rural health facilities are equipped to deliver essential primary health care services. These includes essential obstetric and newborn care, family planning, child health, immunisation and the management of pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases and other common childhood diseases; and, that TB is effectively managed in the community.
The third key outcome was that resources are maintained for individuals and communities to play an active role in improving their own health and welfare through adopting the Healthy Village concept.
NFHSDP is funded by Ok Tedi Mining Limited, while CMSFHP is funded by the OTDF. Both Programs are managed by OTDF and implemented by Abt Associates.

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