Address health issues in Goroka

Letters

WE are still arguing about Coronavirus (Covid-19).
We know that we had Covid-19 since last January, but its spread was contained and the transmission was not rapid.
There was an outbreak of several illnesses in Goroka, Eastern Highlands.
A month ago, I reported my observations of diarrhoea and typhoid, malaria-like fever, flu with headache and running nose.
I even messaged some of our doctors and health administrators to get the data from Asaro District Hospital and North and West Goroka Urban Clinics to find out what illnesses were reported and to identify which communities patients were coming from.
I warned that with Covid-19 around, it will wreak havoc.
Covid-19 has set into the three of four illnesses I mentioned.
If the mentioned illnesses are caused by Covid-19, then I can say thousands have recovered.
But the unfortunate scenario is that the Asaro District Hospital, most or all clinics and aid posts and health centres in Goroka are closed.
The Goroka Base Hospital has scaled down its operations.
So where do we expect sick people to seek medical help?
More people will die from other illnesses, which is sad.
I have seen Covid-19 patients and after recovering, they still struggle to speak.
I have seen many people with typhoid, malaria-like fever and flu with headache and running nose.
Are these all Covid-19 too?
We cannot tell because the health system has closed its doors on people.
The other day, I sent two relatives to the hospital, but it was closed.
I gave K150 to take to the hospital but it was closed. I am not sure whether they will suffer.
If they die what, will I say?
I asked last week for health authorities to open new areas and put manpower and vaccines out at Kabiufa Clinic and YC Hall for people with other illnesses.
Allow Asaro Hospital and two urban clinics to deal with referrals and Goroka Hospital to deal with special cases.
People are resorting to going to the pharmacy with or without prescription and lining up instead of health institutions. More amoxicillin, panadol, disprin and other medicines are bought on the streets.
The danger is that if someone tells people that they are selling Covid-19 medicine, some people will just buy it.
The health authorities should wake up and conduct a pauper’s burial of bodies in the Goroka morgue.
Until that is done, Covid-19 bodies can be dealt with separately.
The failure of refilling many oxygen bottles, removing the bodies from morgues and not keeping our health establishments is creating many problems.
I have requested Governor Peter Numu and the provincial administrator in person to reopen Kabiufa Clinic first because it seems we need to worry about our own communities now.
They have indicated their support on my request.
I see people die, sick people without access to healthcare, bodies not buried due to fear of Covid-19, people die and recovering from Covid-19 and many hundreds recovering from illnesses other than Covid-19.
Some people fear Covid-19 as much as they fear Covid-19 vaccines.
Our efforts should be on health administration, planning, preventative medicine and awareness and better Covid-19 protocols and keeping our health facilities open.
The danger is that many people will have recovered from Covid-19 and many other illnesses without medical attention.
That is a dangerous trend.

Wilson Thompson

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