ANGAU Memorial Provincial Hospital

8-month drug shortage

Morobe Provincial Health Authority CEO, Dr Kipas Binga, said the national procurement system hinders the timely delivery of medical drugs and consumables.

Ordinary Papua New Guineans are forced to buy their own medicine when seeking treatment at the ANGAU Memorial Provincial Hospital.

Those suffering from intense pain get a prescription from ANGAU to buy their morphine from pharmacies or other private hospitals; a costly and burdensome exercise for ordinary citizens.

New ANGAU Labour Ward

Health workers of the ANGAU Memorial Provincial Hospital have excitedly moved into the new state-of-the-art labour ward.

The new birthing ward is spacious, comfortable and adequately fitted with facilities and equipment that midwives and mothers would need. This includes a waiting room for guardians and backyard with ample space for mothers to walk around.

The labour ward’s nurse manager, Sister Florence Nick, said they commenced operations on Wednesday, June 2nd, expressing that the new facility was a relief compared to the previous overcrowded ward.

Medical fraternity farewells colleague

The senior specialist physician in internal medicine passed away after a long battle with illness.

The atmosphere at the ANGAU Hospital was significantly different on Thursday morning as the medical fraternity gathered to farewell one of their own.

The Late Dr Kelly Kep passed away on the evening of March 31st at ANGAU – the hospital he called home for two years.

It was obvious he was held in good stead – and high regard – by his colleagues and especially his tribes from Warakamb Valley and Lower Wage in Kandep, Enga Province.

Citizens urged to protect themselves

With doctors standing down from their jobs at the ANGAU Memorial Provincial Hospital, the COVID-19 hospital lacking emergency drugs and other critical medical supplies, the Nurses Association Morobe president, Siling Awasa, is urging citizens to protect themselves against the virus.

She outlined that sunlight (heat) contributes to the healing of multiple health conditions, including severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Nurses, HEOs overwhelmed

With traffic diverted to the smaller health centres, nurses and HEOs are now calling for more manpower, proper facilities and adequate medical supplies.

The medical officers had no choice but to come out to the media to make public their longstanding issues of manpower shortage, ill-equipped health facilities and inadequate medical drugs and consumables.

These frontliners are also not immune to COVID-19 as they recently lost a colleague at Lae’s COVID-19 hospital, while a good percentage has been infected.

Health workers face stigma

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.

Doctors strained

Staff shortage, temporary positions and unpaid gratuity are just some of their concerns that have fallen on deaf ears.

A media briefing was held at the ANGAU chapel on Thursday morning, where the National Doctors Association – Morobe president, Dr Barry Mutan, said they have submitted nine petitions already regarding the issue of manpower shortage.

Cause of death queried

The Morobe Provincial Health Authority CEO, Dr Kipas Binga, gave this response after he was asked about the procedure used to identify COVID-19 deaths.

Citizens are still skeptical with the methods used to identify a death as COVID-19 related.

Many have voiced concern that though their loved ones passed away from other medical conditions, the cause of death was listed as COVID-19.

Dr Binga was asked to clarify the matter during a media conference in Lae on Monday afternoon following concerns that a death from Butibam was wrongly identified as COVID-19.

Doctors infected

Nineteen of the 26 were nurses.

This was the figure provided in Saturday’s progressive COVID-19 update for Morobe.

Apart from the health workers, four support staff also contracted the virus.

It was reported that 156 cases were detected within the province in a 20-day period. This includes the nine cases that were detected at Mungkip village, Nawaeb district, where eight have been cleared.

ANGAU staff frustrated with lack of leadership

Staff at the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department forced the director of medical services, Dr Lincoln Menda, to listen to their grievances today at the hospital chapel.

Staff are concerned about their welfare, saying there is a lack of leadership and communication.

The Emergency Department was the first to close its doors after a member contracted COVID-19. To date, they have four infected staff and have received no proper response from the management on how they should operate or who to coordinate with.