Health workers stay off work because of safety worries

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By PETER WARI
OPERATIONS at the Mendi Provincial Hospital have been closed temporarily while doctors and nurses petition the provincial health authority to ensure their safety.
The National Doctors’ Association, Nurses-Association, and the Corporate and Support Services presented their petitions to the Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority acting chief executive Ben Walom.
Doctors’ representative Dr Justine Kali said they would support the move by the staff and management to suspend health services indefinitely until their demands were met.
He said many of the health workers, especially doctors, were from other provinces and countries and were unable to work in an unsafe and risky environment.
“Our livelihoods and access to public services have been severely compromised,” he said.
“We will vacate the hospital premises until such time our demands are met.”
He said basic services in town must be restored such as banks, post office, shops, market, airport, churches, transport and other essential services.”
Gates to the hospital and the Mendi School of Nursing were damaged by people travelling around on three vehicles. They also harassed health workers and their families.
The petitions were addressed to Southern Highlands Governor William Powi, regional candidates Joe Kobol and Benard Kaku, the Southern Highlands PHA, Mendi-Munihu and Imbonggu LLG presidents, Ialibu-Pangia MP and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, other MPs of Southern Highlands and Hela Governor Philip Undialu.
Nurses withdrew their services on Monday. Acting director of the Nurses Association Anna Anda said nurses were front liners in the health department but now feared for their safety.

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