The saying goes that health is everyone’s concern. The Governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia recognise this and have partnered to provide the Australia Awards short courses, Graduate Certificate in Health Economics and Certificate in Family and Child Health – Planning and Administration.

While the Health Economics course aims to assist PNG achieve more effective health systems by supporting a range of PNG government and non-state agencies to allocate health resources more efficiently, the Family and Child Health course aims to support effective improvements in managing and planning family and child health initiatives, particularly in provincial areas.

Forty-eight participants from all over PNG came together in Port Moresby in early March for a one-week pre-course workshop in preparation for their studies in Australia. The participants are from the public sector, private sector, non-government organisations and civil society within the health sector.

Participants are working at both middle management and community levels, all with the shared goal of improving the delivery of quality health services in PNG.

When asked what was a key take away from the pre-course for Health Economics, Mrs Hanelly Kiromat Geno, said, “I come from an economics background, but learning how to apply that knowledge into the health sector where there are very limited financial resources and strategically thinking about how to allocate those resources to key priority areas is something I will benefit from in this course”.

Hanelly adds that a key concept discussed during the workshop was learning about cost-effectiveness, “We talk about having annual implementation plans and budgeting for that, but we don’t actually look into how much it costs to run a program or activity. In Australia, I am looking forward to learning the concepts and principles behind health economics and how I can apply this into the work I do so that it can assist me to make more informed decisions.”

Hanelly works at Marie Stopes PNG as a Project Manager for PNG Partnerships Fund program.

The 48 individuals will depart for Australia in April for a twelve-week study program at the Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology.