A cohort of exceptional Australia Awards participants from Papua New Guinea have commenced a Graduate Certificate in Health Economics at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus.

The program has been designed to meet the increasing demand for quantitative and analytical skills in the in the decision-making processes of the PNG healthcare sector.

Course leader for Health Economics Dr Haitham Tuffaha said that Health Economics principles are often considered to inform healthcare funding decisions in developed countries but that this approach is not implemented to guide decision making in low-income countries where there is a clear need to utilise scarce resources wisely.

“Participants in this program are involved in the planning and delivery of public health initiatives at the provincial and national levels,” he said.

“The program aims to provide them with the knowledge and skills to design and implement effective and cost-effective healthcare programs in PNG.”

Participants will partake in the first block of the Short Course comprising of lectures, hands-on activities, site visits and assessment pieces on the Gold Coast until late May 2019.

Australia Award participant Gigil Marme

Australia Award participant Gigil Marme. addresses fellow recipients at the lunch opening ceremony.

The recipients have also had the unique opportunity to learn from Griffith Business School experts involved in building a new comprehensive strategy for identifying value for money and prioritising health initiative for the Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN).

GCPHN CEO Alyson Ross presented the processes and outcomes of the strategy to participants during their first week in Australia, which included changing its calculation of costings, IT systems, training service providers and staff, changing how the GCPHN commissioned service providers, as well as requiring the GCPHN to work more closely with the local hospital to be able to compare data to assess the effectiveness of public health interventions.

Connecting and maintaining strong ties to PNG Provincial Health Authorities will establish a long-term environment of information sharing and growth between the two countries’ healthcare systems.

During their first week in Australia, recipients also toured the Gold Coast primary health network in Robina to learn more about Queensland’s health system.

Australia Awards PNG short course opportunities build valuable people-to-people links both within Australia and the Indo-Pacific region, enabling mid-career professionals and emerging leaders to tap into Australian expertise, gaining valuable skills and knowledge.

To find out more about Australia Awards Papua New Guinea visit Australia Awards in PNG.