By LULU MARK
MORE than 700 health facilities run by churches may stop work next week if the Government does not release all their outstanding funds, officials say.
The Christian Health Services (CHS) and Catholic Church Health Services (CCHS) were forced to serve a stop-work notice through the Health Department on June 10 giving the state 15 working days to release the outstanding grants from February because staff had been deprived of their salaries for four months.
Chairman of the executive and general assembly of CHS, Japalis Kaiok, told The National yesterday that the Government responded by releasing a month’s operational and salary grant of K6 million as appropriated in the 2020 Budget and it was distributed last Friday.
Kaiok said that was basically the February grant that covered two fortnights.
“Although the one-month grant was released, we still need the four months grants (March-June),” he said.
“The church-run training schools operational grants since 2017 are still outstanding as well.
“To confirm with you if the government has come very clear and positive on their commitment for the four months, that’s something that we still need to hear from the Government,” Kaiok said.
The churches are an important partner in healthcare service delivery in PNG with 4,764 health workers, 745 health facilities and 19 health worker training schools.
“We are very mindful of the impact and the consequences it (stop work) will have on the population but we can’t compromise on our statement.
“We will stand by the conditions of the petition until July 3.”
By LULU MARK