Patient urges ANGAU to reconsider

A patient at the ANGAU Memorial Provincial Hospital is urging the senior executive management to reconsider their decision to relocate TB patients.

Voice of Morobe chairman, Sam Oyaya, said PNG has been fighting a TB epidemic for many years hence it should not be pushed back to cater for COVID-19.

Oyaya has been a patient at ANGAU’s TB ward for eight months now.

He has witnessed the death of many patients in the ward, hence he is concerned that the senior executive management of the Morobe Provincial Health Authority are not weighing out options before deciding to relocate them.

As per the management’s circular, TB patients will move to the confined medical ward of 7C; a stark contrast to the spacious and modern facilities they are currently using at the new TB ward.

Oyaya supported the sentiments shared by TB health workers at ANGAU, questioning why TB treatment has not been given prominence, like COVID-19.

“Taim mi stap lo hia, mi lukim olsem, trutru TB em wanpla sik we gavman ino seriously considerim,” he said. (Being here, I have seen firsthand that the government is not serious about TB.)

“Planti man dai lo TB; yumi givim second or third class lo TB. Yumi mas seriously fandim mo mani, na wokim awenes planti.” (A lot of people have died from TB. We have given second or third priority to TB. We must seriously fund the program and conduct more awareness.)

Oyaya said the bright and comfortable environment has been a morale booster for staff, patients and guardians.

“Kain olsem mipla TB, em bifo ol man pret but bikos lo environment, ol fil olsem, ol ken go kam na lukim ol sikman,” he stated. (In the past, people used to be scared but because of the environment, they are no longer hesitant to visit patients.)

“Visitation em impotent. Taim ol no kam lo visit, ol TB patients sa fil nogut liklik lo disla sait. (Visitation is important. When patients don’t get visits, they feel neglected.)

“Olsem na nogat visitation lo friends na femli, planti inap lo kisim healing blo ol, disla tasol na ol sa dai.” (Because of no visitation from friends and families, those who could’ve gotten better had died instead.)

Oyaya asked the authorities to reconsider the relocation plan, saying the building was built with TB patients in mind.

The TB ward is located right in the middle of ANGAU’s premises. Moving COVID-19 patients into the ward will place health workers, other patients and residents at high risk; infection control will be a big challenge.

There are currently two entry points to the TB ward; one goes past the old children’s outpatient department while another is near the kitchen, where food distribution starts.

The management is yet to outline the route that will be used to transport COVID-19 patients, with staff questioning if the narrow hallways will be used.

ANGAU health workers are currently demanding that management meet with them and discuss the new decision.

Carmella Gware