Program code : (BHM)
The challenges confronting the PNG healthcare system are well documented with many of these challenges stemming directly from inadequate management capacity. Tordoff (1987) pointed out that the lack of well qualified and experienced personnel at senior and middle levels in Papua New Guinea has been an important constraint on development. He also said that at the time of decentralization (in 1977), this was particularly true of the health sector, where competent, experienced health managers were few in number and management training opportunities limited.
In addition, Kolehmainen-Aitken (1992) saw that for decentralization to succeed, provincial staff must be equipped with sufficient management skills. She wrote that health worker training became the main avenue by which the Department of Health could influence the standards of health services in the provinces. She also said that training an adequate number of competent provincial health managers was the obvious first priority for the PNG Health service.
A report titled: A review of health leadership and management capacity in Papua New Guinea written by Augustine Asante and John Hall from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales and published in 2011 again highlighted the need for training in administration and management in the PNG Health Care system. They said:
“The health management and leadership capacity in PNG has been a source of concern for many years and several initiatives have been taken to improve it but with little success. In general, the competence of health managers, especially at the local level, remains weak. Health extension officers (HEOs) who are largely involved in managing the district health service do not seem to have sufficient managerial skills for the task they are expected to perform. Although the majority of HEOs have adequate formal education with a four-year bachelor degree, questions have been raised as to whether there is sufficient management focus in their training to enable them to become good local managers.”
Successive national health plans by the PNG Government have also documented the issues: National Health Plan 1996-2000; National Health Plan 2001-2010 and the current National Health Plan 2011-2020. Even the World Health Organisations points out that there is a misdistribution of specialist clinical and technical skills where 30% of skilled health professionals occupy administrative and management positions (WHO, 2013). In fact, the health management and leadership challenges faced by PNG are not unique but mirror the challenges faced by many low-income countries (Asante and Hall 2011).
The aim of the Health Management program is to train undergraduate students to become qualified health managers to address the health care needs of Papua New Guinea through the National Health Plan and to meet the high demand of qualified health managers in the PNG Health Care System. This undergraduate program aims to serve society through quality teaching, learning, research and community engagement in a Christian environment. The program is aligned with the DWU 30 year Strategic Plans, National Health Plan 2011-2020, PNG Medium Term Development Plan 2010-2030 and PNG Vision 2050.
Tordoff, W. (1987).Issues in decentralization in Papua New Guinea, Journal of Commonwealth
and Comparative Politics, 25(1), 42-70.
- Riitta-LiisaKolehmainen-Aitken (1992). The impact of decentralization on health workforce development in Papua New Guinea, PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT, Vol. 12, page 175-191
 Asante, A., and Hall, J., (2011). A review of health leadership and management capacity in Papua New Guinea, Human Resources for Health Knowledge Hub, University of New south Wales: Sydney.
WHO (2013) Global Workforce Alliance: Papua New Guinea. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/workforcealliance/countries/png/en/
Applicants to the Bachelor of Health Management program must meet the following criteria:
- A minimum grade of “B” in English and Mathematics as well as “Bs” in Economics, Business Studies and other subjects is required at the Grade 12 level of secondary schooling.
- Health Care workers such as health extension officers and nurses with 5years’ experience in management positions in health facilities are encouraged to apply as non-school leavers or mature aged students. Non-school leavers or mature aged students with appropriate health qualifications are encouraged to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning to enable them to start in Year 2 or Year 3.