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No protective gear, no work PNG Health minister tells nurses
11:12 pm GMT+12, 29/07/2020, Papua New Guinea

If you know that you do not have personnel protection equipment (PPE), please do not go in to work.
 
This was the directive given to nurses by Papua New Guinea Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Jelta Wong this week.
 
Wong said this when assuring them that he would find out why and how PPE had not reached the hospitals in Port Moresby and other provinces.
 
He said this following grievances raised by nurses that their lives were at risk because of inadequate supplies of PPE at hospitals in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
Wong was present at the PNG Nurses Association office to receive a four-page petition indicating all issues that transpired, the problems identified from the issues and solutions and recommendations by Port Moresby General Hospital nurses.
 
“Each provincial health authority has been receiving PPE and how is it that PMGH is not getting their PPE?
 
“I will find out from the people responsible for logistics and investigate thoroughly,” Wong said.
 
He assured them that the government was working on a package for nurses to help them as frontline health workers.

“We know there is a lot of stigma out there; nurses working at the hospitals are not allowed to go back to their homes and other issues.
 
“We are all trying to mitigate that at this point of time.
 
“You are not alone, I am trying to change the Health Department and reboot the health system but from below, the Public Service within the Department of Personnel Management, have problems,” he said.
 
“After seeing the rise in Covid-19 patients, as the minister responsible, I will continue to fight for the nurses,” he said, adding that “we do not have the luxury of having doctors in the rural areas, our nurses’ act as doctors.
 
“I will take this petition to the Prime Minister, Acting Health Secretary and the PMGH chief executive officer and we will come up with a plan to mitigate and ensure that nurses are looked after.
 
“I will make sure all PPE are given to all hospitals and given to all health workers, make sure all health facilities in the city are fully stocked up with PPE.”
 
Meanwhile, UNICEF has presented K3 million (US$863,000) worth of personal protection equipment (PPE) to the national response unit in Port Moresby, National Capital District last weekend.
 
The PPE were received by acting Health Secretary Dr Paison Dakulala which comprised 631,000 PPE including gloves, surgical masks, protective goggles, face shields, gowns, coveralls, shoe covers, caps and thermometers.
 
These PPE were procured by UNICEF through funding support provided by the World Bank, Governments of Australia and Japan, and Newcrest Mining Limited to support the PNG Government’s response to Covid-19.
 
UNICEF country representative David Mcloughlin when handing over the PPE said front line workers were important at this time of the pandemic.
 
“The frontline workers are our champions – our heroes. They have a message for all of us and that is to take some responsibility because the pressure is enormous,” said Mcloughlin.
 
He said while serving at the front line they are also suffering and it is the duty of everyone to take some responsibility to minimise the infection rate and thereby protect them as well. “I believe we will win the war because we have our key people mobilized to get the job done. We will win the war because we have great partners," he said, adding that the PPE will go to all frontline workers, including the security personnel.
 
At the handover were Satoshi Isono, Counsellor from the Japanese Embassy; Caitlyn Wilson, Deputy Australian High Commissioner, and Stanley Komunt, PNG Country Manager for Newcrest Mining Ltd.
 
Komunt said apart from giving financial support to UNICEF, the mine is also providing support to New Ireland and East New Britain provinces and recently to Central and NCD.
 
Sono said the Covid-19 pandemic is a social and economic threat to all countries and values the efforts of the PNG government and its partners such as UNICEF which is protecting both citizens and foreigners like himself.
 
“Japan has provided about US$1 million, roughly equivalent to K3.5 million in March to UNICEF PNG which has been used for PPE, medical tents, awareness materials such as posters or information through TV or newspaper. UNICEF has been making hand washing taps at 76 schools," said Sono.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS


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