Research is a basic fundamental tool for evidence-based policy and decision-making. Since national health planners and managers depend on evidenced-based research as the tool to guide them in developing their plans, at least 5% of the annual recurrent budget should be set aside for research. But is this so in PNG? The Mid-Term Review of the plan in 2015 described the overall performance of the health sector as sluggish. As a researcher and lecturer at School of Medical & Health Sciences (SMHS), University of PNG (UPNG), I will share my own experiences on how I became involved in development and implementation of the National Health Plan 2011-2020, the National Health Research Policy (2012) and the first National Health and HIV Research Agenda 2013-2018. Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach will be used as a tool by health managers and community leaders to participate in the consultative process to develop strategies for the new 10- year plan. This will create pathways for research collaboration between the National Department of Health in PNG and AITHM and achieve the PNG Vision 2050.
Russel Kitau is a lecturer at UPNG. He served many years as a public health educator researcher. After completing a Diploma of Child Health at UPNG and Master of Public Health at the University of New South Wales, was appointed National Health Planner. He joined the SMHS at UPNG as a Lecturer and collaborated with James Cook University under a Co-Tutelage agreement that enabled him to undertake the Doctor of Education and graduate this year. He joined WHO to develop the 10-year Strategic Plan for Health Research Policy and Research Agenda and support professional development in PNG.