By JIMMY KALEBE
CATHOLIC Church and Christian health services in Morobe are scaling down their operations due to funding constraints, says the Bishop of Lae Diocese Rozario Menezes.
Bishop Rozario said since Feb, the Government had not paid wages for about 4,100 health workers at 850 health posts run by churches.
In line with this, church-run health services could not keep at pace the supply of medical drugs needed at most of those posts.
“Since February we have not closed doors to our services to the population,” he said.
“We have served despite facing difficulties.
“ But now we’ve come to a point where we just can’t operate anymore.”
Bishop Rozario said over time, when the Government did not help, the churches would put down money to cater for that “and this was because we cannot turn away the sick people”.
“Our main job here is to serve the people and if I am not doing that, than what else am I going to do?”
For Lae, Bishop Rozario said though the Government had failed to pay workers, the church put money down to pay for those wages and until now it felt it could not hang on any longer.
In an annual general meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference in Port Moresby two weeks ago, church heads were not happy after the Government turned a blind eye on this issues facing church-run health services in the country.
“Nurses and doctors are the frontliners in any health emergencies like the current pandemic (Covid-19) and if these people are not compensated well in terms of wages, it would mean them walking off their jobs,” BishopRozario said.
He said health workers at church-run facilities were just like those who worked in government-run facilities and when they did not receive their wages, then who could help meet their day-to-day needs.
By JIMMY KALEBE