By PETER WARI
THE Southern Highlands health authority is not aware of an attack on its health workers in Mendi on Monday while they were trying to carry out Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination awareness, says chief executive officer Dr Joseph Birisi.
Dr Birisi said he was briefed by his officers that a private health care organisation that served communities inaccessible to health facilities based in Kandep, Enga, was thrown missiles at, damaging two vehicles.
He said the vehicles with health workers stopped over at the Mendi Local Trading supermarket before heading for Kandep when the incident happened.
A media report said crowds in Mendi chased health officers, who were there to carry out the Covid-19 vaccination awareness.
“We are sorry for what had happened to the innocent workers who were caught by surprise and attacked,” Dr Birisi said.
“This incident happened because of widespread misleading information in public places and social media, resulting in people becoming violent and reluctant.
“Our health workers are stationed in the health facilities and 15 vaccination sites.”
Meanwhile, Dr Birisi said the health authority received K1 million funding from the provincial government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd, Oil Search Foundation, National Control Centre and World Health Organisation that helped with personal protection equipment, drugs (consumable), concentrators, oxygen cylinders and vaccine roll-out campaign.
“About 90 per cent of work has been completed for the construction of a 20-bed isolation ward at the Mendi Hospital,” he said.
“Ialibu Hospital ward refurbishment and laboratory equipment fit-out while Nipa Hospital’s 14 beds have been set up and fully equipped and work is progressing in establishing triage.”
Dr Birisi said the challenge they were facing were shortage of GeneXpert re-agents, medical equipment to equip the new isolation unit setup, full-time logistics to do surveillance (contact tracing) and more awareness on the Covid-19 vaccination.
He said the positive-case trend was declining but they would not become complacent.
There were a total of 1,056 total positive cases tested and currently 17 inpatients, he said.
“Forty-two deaths were reported, all unvaccinated, 12 died at home or died on arrival and 91 health workers were tested positive, most recovered.
“We are continuously appealing and encouraging people above the age of 18 to get vaccinated and build their immunity over time as we might experience the next surge,” Dr Birisi said.
By PETER WARI