Priest hailed as he quits board

National

ONE of the long-serving members of the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority (WHPHA) board, Father Garrett (Garry) Roche, pictured, has retired.
Roche, a Catholic priest, resigned after the meeting of the board on April 26 after serving on the Mt Hagen Hospital board and later the provincial health authority board for 23 years.
He was an inaugural member of the board of Mt Hagen Hospital when it was established in 1994 and later became a member of the WHPHA board when it took over in March 2011 to manage all health facilities in the Western Highlands, including the hospital.
Roche, who arrived in Papua New Guinea on Oct 8, 1970, from Fermoy in County Cork, Ireland, said it was time to step back from his various duties in PNG.
“My experience on both the hospital and WHPHA boards has been very positive and I believe both boards have genuinely tried their best to provide a better health service for the people of Western Highlands,” he said.
“We were successful in seeking financial assistance from overseas funding and local businesses and I am proud to have been a part of that decision-making.”
Roche said being a board member was not always easy. There were times when things did not seem to work well and staff and the public criticised the board, but this was to be expected when working in an environment with limited resources.
Roche has also retired from his role with Divine Word University in Madang.
Board chairman David Guinn said Roche had contributed immensely to the governance of WHPHA and Mt Hagen General Hospital through his input at the board level.
“I’m sad to see him leaving but we will always remember him for his contribution.”
Guinn said Roche’s contribution had been outstanding, not only in terms of the long-term personal commitment but also the enthusiasm to keep the organisation moving forward with the aim of improving health service delivery.
He said the board had gone through a turbulent period in recent times including false allegations made against it, but it showed commitment and people like Roche and others remained loyal which he greatly appreciated.

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