Original Research

Qualitative evaluation of a public–private partnership for reproductive health training in Papua New Guinea


Jodi Thiessen1 BSocSc (Psychology Hons), Research and Development Manager *

Athaliah Bagoi2 BN (Bachelor Nursing), Dip Hth Teaching, MW, RN

Caroline Homer3 PhD (UTS), Distinguished Professor of Midwifery, Faculty of Health

Michele Rumsey4 FANC, Director


1, 4 WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Development, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia

2 Reproductive Health Training Unit, PO Box 842, Port Moresby, NCD, Papua New Guinea

3 Centre for Midwifery, Child and Family Health, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia

ACCEPTED: 26 August 2018

early abstract:

The recent policy environment in both Papua New Guinea and Australia for partnering with private entities to address health issues has led to a public private partnership (PPP) between the National Department of Health in Papua New Guinea, the Australian Government and the Oil Search Foundation. A Reproductive Health Training Unit was formed to provide health worker training in Essential Obstetric Care and Emergency Obstetric Care. This paper provides a qualitative evaluation of the PPP looking at facilitating features and barriers to the PPP’s target of improving the competence of front-line health workers in obstetric care service provision in Papua New Guinea. A qualitative methodology gathered data since the PPP’s inception in 2012. A dataset of 85 interviews with partners and relevant stakeholders from across Papua New Guinea was analysed using thematic analysis. Themes of facilitating features of the PPP were: Understanding and agreeing with the national plan for PPPs; Having strong champions, strong relationships and a formal decision-making body; and Creating autonomy and branding. Themes outlining the barriers to the PPP’s effectiveness were: Lacking governance framework; Differing institutional cultures and ownership struggles; and, Lacking capacity within the institutes themselves.