Covid-19 patient Gabina: I should have got the jab


GABINA Diari, 69, from Kemabolo village along the Rigo Coast in Central believes he is lucky to recover in hospital after being infected with the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
He was brought to the Port Moresby General Hospital on Sept 30 where he spent six nights in Ward 3B, which was then the Covid-19 ward.
When his condition improved, he was transferred on Oct 6 to the Nightingale Covid-19 center in Taurama where he spent another 10 days. He was discharged on Oct 15.
Gabina has eight children and 13 grandchildren, and is grateful to be alive and well.
His work in the Rigo district office involves a lot of travelling which includes visiting wards and travelling to Port Moresby. When the Covid-19 struck, he tried to avoid the vaccination facilities.
“I blame myself when I fell sick because I disregarded the health workers’ advice about practising the Niupela Pasin and getting the vaccination.”
He did not believe that one day he would be admitted in hospital after getting the virus. He regretted not getting the jab when he saw the scene inside the hospital.
“You will have tears in your eyes (just seeing) people lying on the floor waiting for a bed. The ward that I was in was filled to capacity.”
What also moved him was seeing doctors and nurses struggling to keep up with their daily work under a lot of pressure.

“ I blame myself when I fell sick because I disregarded the health workers’ advice about practicing the Niupela Pasin and getting the vaccination.”

He thanks them for the care and support they gave him at PMGH. He now wishes that everyone does the right thing to protect themselves by getting vaccinated to avoid going to the hospital and adding to the workload of health workers.
He advises particularly older people to be extra careful.
“After arriving at the Taurama center, I realised that I was the oldest person admitted there. The rest were in their 40s and 50s. Everyone was on oxygen.”
After some days of recuperation in Taurama, Gabina was able to remove his oxygen mask and started walking around.
“It showed that my condition was improving. I cooperated with the nurses, including the Australian volunteers, during my treatment. I talked with the staff.”
While there, he used his laptop to draft a submission to his MP (Lekwa Gure) to have a fundraising drive for the St John Ambulance. He plans to follow it up.
When he was discharged, Gabina thought that he would be given a bill to pay.
“I walked out thinking a bill would be waiting for me. But there was none.”
He thanks the health workers at PMGH and the Taurama center, and of course the volunteers from Australia, for doing an excellent job in looking after him and other patients. “They work for more than 12 hours a day and are always there to assist us. They came down to our level and I am very thankful to them.”
He allowed the St John Ambulance to publish his pictures and story which many people appreciated as it was the first time to see a Covid-19 patient in hospital.
Gabina is happy that his pictures and story were shared with members of public to help people realise that the Covid-19 is real and that they must protect themselves.
“I didn’t get the vaccine when I had the chance but now I am looking forward to getting the jab in January. I was advised to wait for three months to get the vaccine.”
Gabina has now learnt a lesson which he wants to share with others: Protect yourselves against the Covid-19 by following the public health safety measures and, most importantly, get vaccinated.
He knows he was wrong in avoiding vaccination in the first place.