Hospital staff affected

A number senior medical staff at the St Mary’s Vunapope Hospital in East New Britain who have been tested positive to COVID-19, have refused to return to work for fear of being stigmatized.

This has forced the hospital to close down all normal services indefinitely.

While a number of hospital staff have since recovered, the situation has been compounded with them being stigmatized by their own colleagues and patients.

Provincial Pandemic Incident Manager Dr. Alex Maha confirmed that although a number of them have recovered, they have refused to return to work forcing the hospital to close down all services except for emergency.

Dr. Maha said over the past month it’s been very challenging with confirmed cases also recorded in other district hospitals.

St Mary’s Vunapope hospital has been hit hard with 40 out of 200 staff, tested positive.

Dr. Maha added that cases are not only limited to health workers but the ancillary staff, nuns at the convent and patients admitted for other diseases as well.

Meanwhile Dr.Maha said the limited number of cartridges that the Provincial Health Authority (PHA) has in stock will be strictly used for its health workers only and those suggestive of COVID-19.

The public in the province is again being encouraged to remain vigilant and seek medical assistance from other government run hospitals namely Butuwin Provincial hospital and the Nonga Base hospital.

The province will reinforce the wearing of masks while having the quarantine and surveillance teams checks on PMVs to limit the number of passengers onboard.

Terry Longbut