Angau doctors and nurses not heartless

Letters, Normal

The National

I WOULD like to respond to the letter by “Mother” (The National, Dec 8) of Lae about labour ward doctors and nurses of Angau Memorial General Hospital being heartless.
While the writer has the right to her opinion, it cannot go unchallenged.
Let me make it clear that most of the writer’s allegations are baseless and not true.
It is obvious that it transpired from the writer’s emotions and could be related to the health extension officer who lost his premature 32 weeks gestation twins.
The health extension officer, who was once trained in this hospital, knows very well that antenatal care is one of the main strategies used in the reduction of maternal and perinatal mortality but did not make any attempt to get his wife to a health care facility to get a check up, get the gestational age right and confirm a twins pregnancy.
The relative was unbooked with undiagnosed twins on board presented to the labour ward in established premature labour.
What do you expect?
Besides, the survival rate for a premature baby in our country is poor whether it is delivered by Caesarean section or vaginally.
This is due to lack of facilities and equipment, lack of manpower such as doctors and midwife and other support services.
This is something beyond our control and the Government must address this urgently.
It has nothing to do with the competency, commitment and the dedication of the very hard working staff of the labour ward of Angau Memorial General Hospital.
In the second paragraph, the writer mentioned that mothers are denied treatment or neglected by nurses.
The department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Angau Me­morial General Hospital, just like any other hospitals in the country, has ethical­ policy and protocols that we adhere to and provide highest qua­lity of service to our expecting mo­thers.
But there are always issues as mentioned above that affect the delivery of these services and the health extension officer is aware of that. 
Further, we do not just do Caesarean section on request and without good obstetrics reason consi­dering the short and long-term implications of caesarean section and as such we would like our mo­thers in Papua New Guinea to deli­ver vaginally.
It is sad to read that doctors and nurses are pathetic and cruel.
The writer also mentioned about her experience last year where she delivered her daughter unassisted and heard that one mother delivered in the toilet.
This can happen because of above-mentioned reasons.
Angau Memorial General Hospital was built in the colonial era and the ward space and the delivery beds are not enough.
Our population has grown signi­ficantly.
This means that the number of wards and beds, manpower and
other support services must in­crease proportionally too but it is not happening.
I refer to the concluding remarks: “I seriously think our doctors and nurses in the maternity section ought to think about doing something else”.
This is a shallow and demeaning remark and let me tell you that we are all qualified and this is where we belong.
Let me assure all Papua New Guineans in Morobe province that the labour ward of Angau Memorial General Hospital will continue to provide the highest quality of services in accordance with the standard protocol.
The Government must realise that hospitals need equipment, facilities and manpower to effectively deliver services to our people.
A mechanic cannot do his or her job without the right tools. It is the same with doctors.

Dr Leo Winuan
Specialist medical officer
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and head of the obstetrics and gynaecology department
Angau Memorial General