By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE Bogia district health centre in Madang province that has seen many of its patients sleeping on the concrete floor for the past 15 years, received 21 new hospital beds last week.
The centre received the beds from World Vision national coordinator Dr Curt von Boguslawski.
Centre officer Karoi Kamak told The National at the presentation that the centre was built in 1964 and had been serving about 91,000 people with only 70 beds.
“The centre lacked maintenance and its facilities have all deteriorated over the years. It is also in urgent need of medical equipment,” he added.
Kamak said the beds would be allocated to the children and post-natal wards.
“We are grateful for the donation but the centre still needs more beds for its five wards. Many patients will still have to sleep on the floor,” he said.
The centre is located on the road leading to local MP John Hickey’s home and is manned by three health extension officers, four nursing officers and 16 community health workers. It serves about 15 patients daily.
Mr Kamak said: “The centre is ill-equipped. Medical equipment and supplies like scissors, sterilisers, forceps and minor operation theatre equipment and drugs are lacking.
“Many materials are unfit for use as they are worn out. But we have no choice but to continue using them.”
Mr Kamak said women delivered their babies on two hard benches in labour wards with no proper medical facilities or equipment.
“Sometimes the deliveries are carried out with the use of lamps and torches because the centre does not have a standby generator,” he said.
The centre admitted and discharged a maximum of 200 patients a month.
Mr Kamak said the hospital did not have any vehicle for emergencies as its only ambulance, given by the local MP in 2006 via the joint district budget fund, had broken down.
The ambulance in the town workshop has been repaired but there is no money to foot the bill.
Mr Kamak said the seven health and sub-health centres in the area lacked funds and 21 of the 42 aid posts were closed because of lack of infrastructure and medical facilities.
“It is a serious problem and the lives of the people are at stake.
“The government does not seem to be bothered about the deteriorated state of medical services here.
“We will continue to improvise and do our best to serve with whatever we have. I wish to thank the staff for not giving up,” he added.