Prime Minister James Marape said on his arrival from overseas last night that claims by the former Prime Minister, in a statement on the weekend, mentioning health supply challenges, only serve to draw attention to his dismal record of health delivery failures.

“Instead of throwing stones from a glass house, the former PM should come to the table and propose workable solutions to the problems this government inherited in areas such as health services.”

The Prime Minister said it is blatant hypocrisy for the former Prime Minister to be talking about shortages in medical supplies when you place that in perspective comparing the situation to the healthcare disaster we were experiencing when he lost government in 2019.

“I have been saying this over and over again. I will accept criticism from those with clean hands, who have not had an opportunity over almost two Parliamentary terms to fix a broken-down system”

The Prime Minister said that the system is meant to function even while the head of government is away from the country.

“Mr. O’Neill would be well aware that when he as Prime Minister travelled, the system remains to continue to deliver service. If, as Prime Minister, he cared to build the system well, we would not have to deal with the mess that he keeps talking about”

Prime Minister Marape said that the former PM should reflect on the supply and distribution of medicines by his government through companies with questionable monopolies, and allegations that drugs were counterfeit or out of date.

“Health services delivery was in a much worse state when he was in government and this cost countless lives around our country.”

The Marape government carried our health system through the dire challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has continued to recover and move forward. We have a long way to go in order to meet our objectives, and we are working day and night for improvements that save lives.

“There will be shortages at times as occurs in most health systems, and when these occur there is a swift response to seek to fill the gaps and restore supplies.”

Prime Minister said that the previous government cut health budgets and so health services, particularly in rural areas were reduced, and buildings and other health facilities declined.  The Marape-Rosso government is restoring expenditure and improving facilities year-on-year.

“Under the previous government, health workers left to take up other jobs, in the last budget our government allocated 1.67 billion Kina in operational funds to addresses critical manpower challenges.”

The Prime Minister said that during the previous government there was a constant shortage of drugs and dressings and the number of deaths increased as people were getting sick and could not be treated, as an example with the big increase in TB cases during his government.

“This is the reason why this government has appointed the hard-working Dr. Lino Tom to the Ministry of Health to help drive the government’s health agenda.”