GOROKA Provincial Hospital will be upgraded with a new diagnostic and surgical centre, thanks to funding from loans from the governments of Austria and the Czech Republic.

The deal will make use of the low export credit facility loans offered by the Czech and Austrian governments, with the upgrade to be carried out by Austrian company VAMED Group.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the redevelopment falls in line with the 2011-2020 national health plan to improve service delivery within the health sector.

“The National Executive Council (NEC) has also directed the treasurer to enter into appropriate detailed loan negotiations for the project,” Mr O’Neill said.

He said Cabinet had directed health minister Michael Malabag to obtain a construction estimate from a registered quantity surveyor to “assure value for money for the project”, following receipt of a quote from VAMED Group.

Mr O’Neill said the council had approved the use of K10 million currently held in trust for Nonga Hospital for use on the redevelopment, with the funds to be replaced in the 2015 Budget.

“The NEC further directed Mr Malabag to ensure a comprehensive contract is negotiated and forwarded to Cabinet for approval,” Mr O’Neill said.

The NEC has also directed treasury minister Patrick Pruaitch to include an annual appropriation of K30 million for the project in annual budgets commencing in 2018 until the loan is paid back.