By GABRIEL LAHOC
A YEAR after its 50th anniversary, Braun Memorial Hospital in Finschhafen celebrated with hundreds of people from around the country, representatives from all stakeholders and five Morobe Parliamentarians.
The Lutheran Health Service, which manages the hospital for the Evangelical Lutheran church, had undergone a K1.8 million renovation.
Gathered to celebrate hospital’s outstanding services on Tuesday were all its important partners from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG, the Health Department, Morobe provincial government, the people of Butaweng and international medical volunteer staff members.
Initially opened on Dec15, 1958, Butaweng health centre was primarily regarded as the national tuberculosis centre.
After nine years, the land was registered to the State.
After a huge success in overcoming TB, the general operations of the nearby Buangi health centre were transferred to Butaweng just a year before the nation’s independence.
While mainly serving the neighbouring districts of Finschhafen, Siassi and Kabwum (FISIKA region), it became Braun Memorial Rural Hospital in 1997 after an agreement between the church, the provincial and national governments, because by then, it was accepting increasing number of patients from all over the country, most of who bypassed the established Angau Memorial Hospital.
The friendly atmosphere created by the Godowa and Simbang villagers, the natural people-skills shown by all levels of the hospital staff, were the main features highlighted during the day, with acknowledgements that these contributed to its reputation as one of “the very best hospitals in the country”.
Braun’s medical services director Dr Daniel Mock, Lutheran health services national health secretary Don Kudan, provincial health advisor Dr Luke Theo and Health Minister Sasa Zibe, praised the partnership between the public sector and the church.
Like many in PNG, the hospital has its needs especially with doctors and housing shortages.
But things look promising with Tewai-Siassi MP Vincent Michaels and Kabwum MP Bob Dadae committing K100,000 each, while the Mr Zibe pledged K50,000, all from their joint district planning and budget priority committees.
With the belief that the unifying force of provincial health authority (PHA) will address all the issues faced by the domestic health sector, Mr Zibe expressed confidence that such partnership will improve the country’s level as having the worst health status in the whole of the Western Pacific region.
Mr Wenge has promised to sign up Morobe as the fourth province to have a PHA, which will get local doctors to work in rural areas and also increase salaries and working conditions of both local and expatriate medical personals.
The people and Braun Memorial Hospital administration and staff welcomed the statements by the leaders, and now look forward receiving the services.
A traditional singsing group from Sinasina district in Simbu province, made up of some former patients, also attended the event and performed as part of the celebrations.