Morobe lacks health staff

National

MOROBE faces a chronic shortage of health staff to man facilities in districts and LLGs due to population increase, according to provincial health advisor Micah Yawing.
Yawing said there were still vacancies to be filled as a lot of staff have been retrenched or have died.
The problem is made worse by the current shortage of anti-malarial drugs.
“We can talk about drug shortages and failure in procurement systems but let’s get back to the basics to maintain health standards on the ground to serve human wellbeing,” he said.
“When I say health standards, I mean facilities must have adequate staff, drugs and equipment to ensure they function to meet demands.”
Yawing thanked Digicel Foundation for building an aid post in Morobe recently at Weduru in Bukawa and Pinake in Menyamya.
“Aid posts are the real backbone of this country that meaningfully serve the bulk of rural populations but these facilities need workers, equipment and drugs to serve their purpose,” he said.
“Current population increase demands for more health extension and nursing officers to strengthen rural facilities whilst figures in drug supplies also increase.”
Yawing was, however, unable to provide figures of vacancies and closed aid posts in Morobe’s 33 local level governments.
However, Huon Gulf administrator Aaron Ambang affirmed Yawing’s concern that the district needed 22 health workers to fill vacancies that have been there for almost 20 years.
The district needs 16 community health workers, three health extension and three nursing officers.
“If this situation continues for the next three to five years people will die in the district.  We are bending few rules based on needs to provide desired services despite no funding for existing vacancies,” Ambang said.
Yawing said the current freeze on recruitment by the Department of Personnel Management would not help health service delivery to rural populations.
“If we stop recruitment then who will fill the existing vacancies to use facilities and equipment?”

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