Healthcare. Papua New Guinea press review

Health officials of Papua New Guinea (PNG) will treat as suspected COVID-19 cases people complaining of respiratory illnesses, pneumonia and severe acute respiratory infections says State of Emergency (SoE) Controller David Manning. The Port Moresby General Hospital, provincial health authorities, and private hospitals are also required to submit daily reports by 6 p.m to Mr. Manning. The reports must include case investigation forms for all suspected COVID-19 cases, details of deaths relating to respiratory illnesses, the number of persons swabbed for COVID-19 testing, and any other information they are directed to provide.

The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s West Sepik province says people are still defying the official border closure and crossing into Indonesia. PNG closed its border with the neighbouring country three months ago in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, of which there’s been a surge in cases in Indonesia’s Papua province. Governor Tony Wouwou said West Sepik acted early, with awareness campaigns and the deployment of a rapid response team, to implement public restrictions. But he said there were still not enough security forces to stop people, particularly PNG vanilla traders, crossing the border through the bush.
COVID-19 test results of 186 samples collected from villages in West Sepik are pending, says West Sepik medical head Dr Stella Jimmy. Dr Jimmy, who is also the director of curative health services in the province, said initially, 208 samples were collected and all results came back negative.

However, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia’s Papua province has rocketed past four hundred. The total now stands at 436. Of that number 323 people are receiving medical treatment. The death toll remains at 7. Reflecting the breakdown of overall cases to date, most of the new cases are in Jayapura (Indonesia) and in other regencies close to the border with Papua New Guinea, as well as in Mimika regency, around the Freeport Gold Mine, the single biggest cluster so far.

Papua New Guinea authorities says some people being repatriated are not adhering to quarantine rules. Mandatory 14-day spells in quarantine for residents returning from overseas remain part of PNG’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Emergency Controller, Police Commissioner David Manning, issued a warning to citizens undergoing quarantine at designated facilities to strictly observe the protocols or face the consequences. This followed reports of repatriated people breaching quarantine control measures. According to Mr. Manning, no person under quarantine was allowed to leave their room without written authority from him except in the case of an emergency. If a person became ill or started showing symptoms of Covid-19 they should immediately contact the medical services. «I must warn citizens that are coming into the country that the 14-days quarantine period and the protocols in place under the SoE are non-negotiable».

Kumul Petroleum (Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited) has presented medical supplies comprising of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Port Moresby General Hospital to further support the country’s efforts to combat and contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Kumul Petroleum presents PPE valued at over K500.000 with this first delivery of PPE comprising of medical class respirator masks, gloves, isolation gowns, medical isolation mask, disposable goggles and hand rub gels. A second delivery will be made soon for the remaining medical supplies which will include a portable x-ray machine, monitors, ventilators with accessories and CMAC Video Laryngoscope with accessories valued at just over K1.647 million. As stated Kumul Petroleum Managing Director Wapu Sonk «We want to contribute to keeping our population healthy and well, ‘health is your wealth’, that’s what they say. So creating wealth doesn’t necessarily relate to monetary terms, it is about improving the Human Development Index. This is the work that we are doing in education and electricity distribution as well as health, where we believe that when people are healthy, they can contribute to the economy, and in the broader growth of the country.»

Andylorie Arua is a registered nurse at Hohola’s St Therese clinic but today works out from the Rita Flynn isolation facility in Boroko. Ms. Arua was among the first group of nurses recruited to work at the facility. Although the pace has slowed down in the country, she said she has never experienced anything like COVID-19, particularly responding to confirmed new cases and mass testing. It was exhilarating and terrifying since this was a completely new and infectious disease. While there were issues when they first started testing, they quickly became accustomed to the work load and to efficiently deliver quick turnarounds for results.

Ms Arua also spoke on how her family felt when she was going to work for the facility: «Initially they were worried. But my husband is a doctor so our family is used to us working long shifts. They were not really scared or alarmed».

‘Persons with respiratory illnesses must be tested’

A day in life of a front line Covid-19 nurse

Read more news of the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation: