News Item

APEC pushes digital as avenue for better services in PNG

News 31 Oct 2018

Papua New Guineans are being told they will benefit from better services through digital technology promoted by APEC.

PNG is to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders summit in two weeks.

This year it has already hosted hundreds of meetings of officials from APEC countries, a number of which have focused on digital and data advances.

The chairman of the APEC secretariat, Allan Bollard, said some of the applications being explored in PNG enable access to services for rural people.

"There are some further developments along digital lines to help e-commerce, some of it remote e-commerce, some of it remote access health and remote access education which will potentially help people in the next few years out in the provinces also."

Allan Bollard said PNG is developing the idea of solar-powered electronic box which gives citizens a digital identity that allows them to register for health care and to get a bank account.

Meanwhile PNG'S Health Minister has also been touting the expanding telecommunications sector as the key to better health services round the country

Dr Puka Temu told local media a new "e-health system" could address ongoing issues in PNG such as shortage of health specialists at the district level.

He said it would better foster communication between rural communities and health workers and specialists

However, Dr Temu continued to deny widespread reports about chronic shortages of basic medicines and supplies in PNG's health facilities.

His office indicated it would look into a Facebook report last Thursday which exposed how shortages of antibiotics and painkillers are common across the country.

The Minister said healthcare would benefit as the entire country was gradually covered by IT (Information Technology) infrastructure.

"So business will be cheaper, government services like e-commerce, e-agriculture, e-education, e-health - I think is the way for the country to go."

Source: RNZ Pacific

Photo: RNZ Pacific/Johnny Blades