Deputy Pandemic Controller Dr Daoni Esorom says that the country is still in the pandemic and people still have to comply with the COVID-19 protocols to protect themselves and others against COVID-19. This includes getting vaccinated.
“We are working on the country recovery strategies that will be put in place post-election. It is important to note that all our four surges have been due to some national gathering, the election is a super spreader event, and we expect a surge during or after the election,” Dr. Daoni said.
The Deputy Pandemic Controller said this when responding to the closure of the Rita Flynn court (RFC) and the ceasing of all the COVID-19 activities there by the National Capital District Provincial Health Authority (NCD PHA).
According to Dr Daoni, the closure is over outstanding funds totaling K6.2 million owed to the PNG Sport Foundation (PNGSF) for the use of the RFC and other sporting facilities.
“I have met with the NCD PHA and PNGSF CEO on 16/06/22 and directed both to open the RFC while we work on sorting out the funds from NDOH,” said Dr Daoni.
“I have discussed with the NCD PHA team to decentralize these covid-19 operations to the other health facilities in the city, however, I was informed that NDOH had not transferred the financial powers to the NCD PHA CEO since the PHA was set up in Feb 2020.
“The reports I have received during the meeting was that NDOH had not transferred 12 to 13 million Kina in HSIP, for PHAs and other public health, clinical, and Administrative and Management activities. These non-transferred funds have accumulated since Feb 2020 when the NCD PHA was launched,” Dr Daoni said.
He added that key public health programs like STI/HIV, Malaria, MCI-I, EPI and tuberculous have suffered from a lack of funding because the PHAs funds are held up in the HSIP TA.
Dr Daoni advised that the NDOH, through the Secretary’s Office, must meet with NCD PHA CEO and PNGSF to resolve the closure of the RFC and sort out the payments as agreed to in the meeting in February 2022.
He further recommended that the NDOH transfer the financial powers under the PHA Act arrangements and decentralization of financial powers to the PHA CEO so that the NCD PHA can function fully to manage key programs in the city.
“We all need to treat these issues as urgent as it directly affects the access to services by our people and the closure deprives our people access to vital COVID-19 services,” Dr. Daoni said.