Church health service providers play a prominent role in primary health care service delivery in Papua New Guinea.
They are responsible for up to 50% of rural and remote health facilities and also for a number of training facilities for nurses and community health workers. Primary health care facilities are also the predominant point of access to the health system in rural and remote areas of Papua New Guinea where approximately 87% of the population lives.
Stewardship of a mixed health system presents a number of challenges not unique to Papua New Guinea. The evidence suggests that many governments are not performing their stewardship function well. In Papua New Guinea studies suggest that health service provision could be more efficient and effective if there was a greater focus on strengthening the partnership between national and sub-national governments and church health service providers.