By LULU MARK and GLORIA BAUAI
MOROBE is withdrawing mobile health clinics and the teams of health workers carrying out Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination and awareness, plus other programmes, in suburbs, because of increasing attacks on them.
Provincial Health Authority chief executive officer Dr Kipas Binga said all health services would be conducted only in the clinics in town.
“(The authority) will be seriously considering halting its services to any community within the catchment area of a facility if its staff are being harassed continually,” Dr Binga said.
Nurses on mobile clinic duties recently raised their concern about their safety while conducting Covid-19 vaccination and routine child immunisation programmes.
Momase nurses’ union president Siling Awasa wants police and health authorities to deal with those attacking nurses and support staff at the West Taraka clinic.
Dr Binga, in a circular to health authority staff yesterday, said companies who wished to get their employees vaccinated should now go to the clinics as no teams would be travelling out.
The St Johns Ambulance in Lae is also concerned about the attacks on its workers, even though they are not carrying out the Covid-19 vaccination.
Three of their workers were attacked early yesterday morning along the Boinamo road in Kamkumung while attending to an emergency call.
After putting the female patient on board, they were attacked by a group of people who said they were against the Covid-19 vaccination.
While two ambulance officers attended to the patient, one was trying to calm down the angry mob.
The husband of the patient also tried to calm the group down but to no avail.
The ambulance workers were verbally abused for “conducting vaccinations”.
It was the second such attack in two weeks. Police are investigating the incidents.
A St John Ambulance statement said: “We call on the Lae community to respect ambulance officers during this time as so much more people need our help
“Due to misinformation, (some people) in Lae assume that the St John is involved in the vaccine roll out when it is not.
“The officers are risking their lives when they are not in full personal protective equipment to treat potential Covid-19 patients. Ambulance teams are here to help people in Lae during emergencies.”