Modelling Costs and Efficiency of Primary Health Care Services in Papua New Guinea

Brett Inder, Jean Spinks, Pratima Srivastava, Rohan Sweeney

Research output: Book/ReportOther ReportResearch


This is the Final report for the project: “Modeling costs and efficiency of primary health care services in Papua New Guinea”. This project was initiated by the Department of Health, PNG, and has been identified by the Secretary for Health, Dr Clement Malau, as a priority issue. The project will provide the National Department of Health in PNG with timely and accurate primary health
service costing information, which can be used to inform future funding of primary health care facilities. The main output of this project is an interactive spreadsheet tool known as the Rural Health Costing Model. This model can be used by the National Department of Health, development partners and other stakeholders to answer a range of questions relating to the cost of providing
primary health care services in PNG.
This research project aims to address the knowledge gap, and provide an evidence base for the PNG Government to fund primary health care services for the next budget planning cycle, and into the future through the National Health Plan and other initiatives.

This research project seeks to address three main questions:
1. What are the current costs of running rural health care facilities in Papua New Guinea?
2. What additional resources would be required to provide a normative level of service provision or specific service level targets?
3. Based on the resource input and output data collected from facilities, what is the relative efficiency of primary health care facilities in PNG?

The Rural Health Costing Model can be used to provide answers to all three of these questions. However, there is scope for additional analysis to be undertaken, particularly around questions 2 and 3, which would be informative to the NDoH National Health Planning Team to cost the National Health Plan. The project consisted of three phases of work. Phase One began in December 2008 and involved a literature review and comprehensive stakeholder engagement. Phase Two involved primary data collection from rural health facilities which began in late January 2009 and was completed in May 2009. Phase Three of the project involved data analysis, reporting and result dissemination and
was completed in November 2009. This report contains a number of analyses that can be extracted from the costing model as it currently stands. The model has been designed so that it can incorporate additional data when it becomes available, which will make further analyses possible.

Key analyses to date highlight the role of human resources in the running of health centres. Staffing costs represent the major cost item, with over 60% of total costs being attributed to this area. The model also highlights wide variation in staff productivity, and suggests there is in most areas capacity for increased service delivery using present staffing levels, although increases in staffing levels will be required to provide for an increasing population in the future. The model also shows significant deficits in spending on infrastructure and equipment, and medical supplies. Service delivery would also be improved immensely with further operational funding available at health centre level, particularly to cover transport and other costs which can be used to improve the low-level of outreach services currently being undertaken by health centres. Overall, the analysis suggests that there is scope for significant improvements in efficiency in delivery of primary health care services in PNG. Broadening the routine reporting requirements and
integrating centralized information systems will assist with ongoing monitoring and improvement of service delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne Vic Australia
PublisherMonash University
Number of pages75
ISBN (Print)9781921187697
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameCentre for Health Economics Research Papers
ISSN (Print)1833-1173


  • Cost analysis

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