Health workers face stigma

Health workers are not immune to COVID-19 discrimination.

This was why staff at the ANGAU Memorial Provincial Hospital have been calling for their own isolation facility since 2020; families have shunned medical workers who have been exposed to the virus. 

Since PNG’s first COVID-19 case early last year, staff at the ANGAU Memorial Provincial Hospital have highlighted to their management the need for an isolation facility.

ANGAU’s emergency department was the first to register a case this month.

Emergency medicine specialist, Dr Donna Piamnok, said the Morobe Provincial Health Authority had one year to address this need.

“Our emergency team who’ve been forced to step down and be isolated, had to go back to their families. That should not happen,” she stated.

“And we’ve had even families stigmatising our staff. And that is a big problem.”

Seeking advice externally, the health workers were told that an area should have been designated for staff who have been exposed but not too sick to be admitted to the COVID-19 hospital at the Sir Ignatius Kilage indoor complex.

The lack of a designated isolation facility is just one issue that has joined the long line of pressing matters that are yet to addressed, including staff shortage, logistics, accessible personal protective equipment and unpaid benefits.


Carmella Gware