Health Minister outlines COVID -19 expenditures in Parliament

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS,  Honourable Jelta Wong, outlined  the COVID-19 funding during his ministerial statement to Parliament this morning .

He highlighted that  the health sector has received a total of K1.08 billion to manage the COVID-19 to date, with the National Government providing K115.6 million and partners including banks, providing K906.6 million.

“Health Sector received K115.6 million from the Government and Development Partners contributed K58.6 million totaling K174.2 million and these funds were managed through the Health Sector Improvement Program Trust Account, and included is the K13.9 million for the COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out.”

Mr Wong added that the Provincial Health Authorities (PHA) and Port Moresby General Hospital received a total of K74.3 million, while the rest has been paid to support areas such as contact tracing, the call center, and logistics at the national level and of this cash disbursement, a balance of K39.6 million remains in the HSIP Trust Account for vaccination and other COVID-19 activities in 2021.

“K10 million of these funds are for 15 PHAs and will be released to them upon completion of their acquittals for previous funds, K9.4 million of DFAT funds for vaccine roll out, KK1.25 for NCC activities, K12.9 million for activities indicated in the procurement plan for 2021 and K3.1 million unallocated”, explained Minister Wong.

“With the total of 3 million doses expected through COVAX this year, it will cover 20 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s eligible population and the priority now is to scale up advocacy and communication to the public, private companies, local Non – Government Organizations (NGO) churches and communities to encourage vaccine take-up.”

“ It has been a difficult 18 months with Papua New Guinea preparing for and managing the COVID-19 pandemic and also other health issues affecting the citizens in the country” he says.

“We have had a total of 17, 774 COVID-19 cases and 192 deaths and we have been managing COVID-19 through quarantining international passengers, contact tracing, isolating cases, updating the public and of course through our vaccination roll out program”, Minister Wong said.

Minister Wong  added, there  were currently six confirmed cases of   the    Delta variant that came from sailors and one from hotel quarantine which have  now been contained.

“A nurse in Madang was  tested positive for this variant, which is a concern as this suggests the case may have been picked up through border transmission with Indonesia and contact tracing is underway to determine if Delta has spread.

“National Government’s  priority now is to work with Provinces to ensure they are prepared to manage Delta .

“And by doing that, we are also focusing on  how to protect our frontline health workers through training, vaccination, and steady supply of Personal Protection Equipment’s (PPE),  but vaccine hesitancy in the health workforce is a challenge”, he said.

Meantime, PNG  received its first 8000 doses of Astra Zeneca from Australia on 30 March this year, a further 10 000 doses from Australia, 132 000 doses through COVAX, 146 000 Astra Zeneca doses from New Zealand through COVAX, 226 000 doses of Sinopharm donated by the People’s Republic of China and 504 000 doses of Johnson and Johnson from United States through COVAX.

“Astra Zeneca doses have been provided to all provinces and we are in the process of rolling out Sinopharm and J&J doses on demand driven basis and in three weeks times, Johnson and Johnson will be rolled out in three tranches with border provinces accompanied by intense communication campaign to encourage greater uptake”, Mr Wong said.

A total of 3 million doses through COVAX is expected in 2021 and the total number of people vaccinated now stands at 109, 214 and of that, 88, 979 have received first doses and 20, 235 people are fully vaccinated with two doses.

“There have been 16 cases of adverse side effects with all people fully recovered and so it is important that risk communications increases and there are greater uptakes as Astra Zeneca has a shelf life of 6 months and Johnson and Johnson around 4 and half months.

“Securing adequate financial resources to manage COVID-19 Pandemic has been a challenge and I commend the Government for mobilizing financial and other resources and also would like to applaud  the collaborative effort and contribution across the Government, development partners and private sectors for their efforts in supporting us to prepare and respond to COVID-19”,  said Minister Wong.

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