Dakulala: Dept aware of strike by hospital staff

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Paison Dakulala

THE Health Department is aware of the strike staged by the Angau Memorial General Hospital staff yesterday, acting Health secretary Dr Paison Dakulala says.
Angau staff (doctors, nurses, allied health workers and other unions) went on a strike demanding the removal of the Morobe health authority (MPHA) chief executive officer Grant Muddle by 4pm yesterday.
The health workers, who boarded up the doors to Muddle’s office, claimed that they were not prepared in terms of having the right personal protective equipment (PPE) when attending to possible cases of Covid-19 because of a lack of urgency shown by Muddle in the province’s Covid-19 emergency preparedness.
The other demands made by the workers were related to patient welfare, staff allowance and entitlement and a lack of medical supplies, materials and resources.
Dakulala said they were in the process of understanding the demands and once that was done, he would be able to comment on the situation.
PNG health support workers association Morobe branch president Lance Mathias said the union protested after Morobe health authority chairman David Wissink and his board extended Muddle’s term for another three months.
Meanwhile, Angau’s accident and emergency unit was closed indefinitely after a report that a patient had allegedly died from Covid-19.
The news left health workers worried because the hospital did not have PPEs for them.
PNG Nurses Association (PNGNA) president Frederick Kebai told The National the strike was staged by all the unions.
He said the Port Moresby nurses had staged a protest last week due to the lack of PPEs at the health facility and now the Angau staff were raising the same concern.
He said the prime minister had assured that the PPEs would reach the facilities anytime this week or next week.
Kebai would not comment on the Angau strike but urged the unions to follow proper channels and act ethically and professionally.