“Leadership is about getting clear on what you value and acting according to those values that shape your life, the organization you work for and how people see you” says Dr James Kintwa, CEO for Mt. Hagen General Hospital.

In 2009, the Western Highlands became the second province in the country to sign an agreement to pilot a single health system in the province. This agreement allowed for the unification of rural health with a public hospital management and delivery system which helps remove barriers in the delivery of health services.

A graduate of the University of New South Wales with a Master’s in Public Health Administration, Dr Kintwa’s positive leadership qualities in the Health sector are outstanding.

Serving as a medical officer before attaining his Masters degree, Dr. Kintwa says he realized that he was constantly concerned about the state of service delivery in the health sector in PNG. He could see that there was room for improvement, but Government laws on the distribution of funds for the health sector and lack of training for hospital staff, made any progress difficult. In 1999, under a special training program provided by AusAID and the health department, Dr. Kintwa was able to go for further studies in Australia.

“The experience was tremendous. The exposure helped me improve my skills and broaden my knowledge,” said Dr Kintwa. The biggest challenge after returning from studies for Dr Kintwa came in November 2002 when he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Mt. Hagen General Hospital. He said one of the commendable initiatives under the Public Hospital Act was the establishment of a hospital board. He said having board members who are business men or leaders in the community is beneficial because they offer support and advice as well as networks, which all help in many areas of the hospital’s development.

In 2002 under Dr Kintwa’s administration, the hospital board and staff took on the initiative in creating awareness among the community to be responsible and take ownership of public service provided in the province. He said this exercise was important due to past experiences of damage to hospital property and hospital staff continually being victimized. Dr Kintwa said the improvements were rewarding and negative experiences had been largely reduced in the province.

“We currently have a good working relationship with the surrounding community and always involve them in discussions to improve health services provided by the hospital.”