Healthcare. Papua New Guinea press review

Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Port Moresby General Hospital and School of Medicine and Health Science (UPNG) Professor Glen Mola has warned citizens of Papua New Guinea (PNG) of a surge in the COVID-19 cases in the coming months, urging people to remain on alert as the pandemic is not over. In should be noted that He had warned the nation earlier this year that the COVID-19 would become a pandemic. Mr. Mola predicts a surge in the number of cases in the coming months and warned those with cold and fever to stay at home so as to protect themselves and others. If the cold develops and results in shortness of breath, people should call the COVID-19 hotline. «A lot of people affected with Covid-19 only have mild symptoms with few ended up very sick. Just be mindful of older people as they are the ones that are really affected, » Mr. Mola said and also added that people should also be more concerned about the diseases such as Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, typhoid and malaria, because «people are dying from these diseases». The country recorded its 10th and 11th COVID-19 cases in late June, both in Port Moresby. [1]

At the same time, some church health facilities in Papua New Guinea are partially suspended. The PNG Christian Health Services (CHS) and Catholic-Church Health Services (CCHS) served a stop-work notice through the Health Department on June 10, giving the state 15 working days to release outstanding grants since February [2].

As a result, Former Health Minister, Sir Peter Barter has urged Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. James Marape to act now and address the pleas made by the church health services in regards to their outstanding 2020 funding for salary and operational grants. «I have been aware of this impending disaster for some months and I would have assumed that the prime minister would have initiated the immediate release of funds to church health workers but this has not been the case […] No one can expect church health workers to continue working indefinitely without funds to feed their family — for months, they have been surviving on borrowed funds with food, unable to pay school fees or for that matter being able to travel to seek help. » Sir Peter said. As a former health minister, Sir Peter is concerned that apart from the health workers, deteriorating health services will affect the most vulnerable, which at its best in Papua New Guinea, falls well below and acceptable standard. [3]

Funds for the payment of Church Health Workers’ salaries is expected to be released this week. PNG Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has apologised to workers in church-run health facilities for the four-month non-payment of their salaries, saying K20 million (US$5,76 million) has now been paid for that purpose. According to Health Minister Jelta Wong K20 million for salaries will be paid out this week while funds for operational grants are expected to follow after. Despite assurance given by the minister many church run health facilities’ in rural areas have scaled down as they have run of basic drugs and other necessities. «The Department of Health is committed and will continue to support and maintain Government and church partnership in the delivery of health services in the country, » Mr. Wong says and notes that the government recognizes the enormous effort the church health services have put into delivering health services to the rural population and will not let this issue go unnoticed. [4-5] [1]
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