‘Country not pandemic-ready’

Health Watch

DEPUTY Pandemic Response Controller Dr Daoni Esorom says the biggest challenge Papua New Guinea faced during the Covid-19 pandemic was its preparedness to handle the situation.“The pandemic exposes PNG’s weak health system, the shortage of health workers, weak border control and monitoring, lack of police manpower to control compliance of measures and the lack of human resource,” he said.Dr Esorom said this should be a wake-up call for the Government to start investing in services, infrastructure, human resources and bring in investment in the health sector. “Pandemics such as the Covid-19 happen once in a century,” he said.“We were not prepared to handle the pandemic and this experience is an opportunity for the Government to use and strengthen all its agencies and services.”Dr Esorom said the nation’s capital had almost completed its vaccination programme, utilising the 4,000 doses it was allocated.He said two batches of vaccines that were sent out to the other 21 provinces for the national vaccination programme would expire at the end of this month.As of June 6, 38,563 people had been vaccinated – of this number, 6,063 were health workers, 32,012 were essential workers, 488 people aged 45 and older and those comorbidities. Dr Esorom said the only challenge faced was people were unwilling to come forward voluntarily to get vaccinated.“False rumours and conspiracy theories spread on social media are affecting the vaccination programme,” he said.Dr Esorom said the country was expecting more vaccines – up to 280,000 doses – to come into the country next month.

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