Health unions plan to support students

The National Doctors Association (NDA), with support from PNG Nurses Association and other health sector unions, will support our students who are fighting for what is right.

NDA secretary Dr Sam Yockopua, who is also the Port Moresby General Hospital’s accident and emergency department chief, told Loop PNG that they will not allow UPNG’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) to shut down.

“The SMHS is the only ‘factory’ that produces doctors and dentists in the country. There is no other university.

“The output of doctors’ production is about 40 per year. PNG needs about 200-300 per year to meet the demand. So that number 40 is crucial for us the medical fraternity.”

Dr Yockopua said they are running specialist trainings at the medical school that must not be disrupted.

“Perhaps the most important of all is the specialist doctors training program. Currently over 80 doctors are in training of whom 30 or so will qualify as specialists at the end of this year. 

“So it is crucial that as consciously thinking nationals, we cannot allow the medical school (SMHS) to close up or have the students to have en-masse withdrawal. It will have significant catastrophic consequences to the medical and health services delivery.

We stand united with them and will facilitate the end result they want to achieve, the NDA secretary told Loop.

“The conclusion is very simple, that one man must go to save everyone else. The health sector unions will not allow the Taurama Campus to shut down or have its students withdrawn. This will result in nationwide industrial action by all the health unions.”

Dr Yockopua said the unions will meet this evening to plan a way forward. They will officially announce their stance tomorrow.

(Medical students in their white lab coats at the main Waigani campus Forum Square.)




Carmella Gware