In 2013 the Burnet Institute reported that the province was suffering from ‘one of the worst tuberculosis (TB) epidemics in the world’. The number of victims kept on climbing where, unfortuantely, those at the forefront of the battle also succumbed to the infectious disease, especially to the extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).
The health workers at Daru hospital claim that the Government has ignored their plight for so long that they are taking another step further to ensure that history does not repeat itself.
A representative of the staff, Sister Dawe Tuti, told Loop PNG: “There are standards in the Health Department, and one of them is infection control.
“We think and feel that the Department failed us on that part. We did not have infection control standards here in the hospital. Our staff got infected.
“In 2008 we had our first case. Until 2016, the total number of staff infected is 13; we just had one addition last year.”
The situation has prompted the health workers to fight for their compensation claim, covering the period 2011-2015, which was lodged two years ago.
“We feel the Department should take responsibility, including our provincial government,” Sr Tuti told Loop PNG.
“The staff are now frustrated. We are giving our petition to the hospital board this afternoon, where it will reach the Minister for Health.
“We are demanding that the Minister for Health and the Secretary for Health come down, sit with us and discuss.
“We are not talking to anybody else. We think we have exhausted all avenues.”
The Government has been given 7 working days to respond to their demands. The deadline lapses on April 6.
“If we don’t get any positive feedback from our leaders, and even the Department, we will do a sit-in protest come Friday next week.
“We will be partially withdrawing our services. We will be attending to emergencies only, labouring mothers and dying patients.”