PORT MORESBY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA (13 November 2019) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $100 million loan to help the Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) provide affordable, accessible, equitable, and high-quality health services for all citizens.
The loan will fund the second of the three subprograms of the Health Services Sector Development Program, approved by ADB in May 2018.
“The program supports fiscal policy, public financial management, and health sector reforms, while providing critical financing during a period of sharp fiscal tightening that will enable the Government of Papua New Guinea to safeguard funding and provide better quality health services for all, particularly for women and children,” said ADB Principal Public Management Specialist for the Pacific Ms. Pamela Wyatt.
The reforms achieved as part of subprogram 2 include updates to the Public Finances Management Act and implementation support for the National Procurement Act 2018, approved in 2019 to improve government efficiency and transparency. The expansion and strengthening of Public Health Authorities (PHAs) has improved subnational health service delivery through regulations, manuals, and the delivery of budgets and annual reports. The program also has a strong gender component, requiring PHAs’ board structures to have at least one woman director, making them more prominent in the decision-making process, while providing sex-disaggregated data for more inclusive policy making.
The direct flow of funds to PHAs has been well received and allows for greater PHA autonomy in line with the objectives of the PHA legislation. Health service delivery was further strengthened with reforms to medicine procurement and distribution, including the approval of a new drug catalogue. Additional reforms were added to subprogram 2 with more progress than initially anticipated being achieved, which saw the creation of a new chart of accounts, specifically for PHAs, and a revised drug catalogue and standard operating procedures for medicine procurement.
The program is complemented by the ongoing investment component approved in 2018 that will support health infrastructure. Capacity building efforts are being undertaken to strengthen PHAs and their management, while support for a new digital health data collection for stronger reporting is underway.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.