PEOPLE living near the Goroka Base Hospital were shocked when their dogs fought over a decomposing human hand last Saturday.
Residents at Arabica street suspected the hand might have been improperly dumped by the hospital at a dump, and dogs feeding there picked it up.
Long time residents Theresa Wena, Maryanne Kua and Peter Wena said the dogs burrowed their way through the holes in the roofing iron fence to access the open earth pit where hospital wastes are disposed and brought out the decomposing hand.
Mrs Wena said: “Early this year, we also found a decomposing breast of a female brought into our residences by dogs. Now it is this hand.”
Mrs Kua said on another occasion she found a dead fetus near her house and buried it, adding there were many instances where diapers used by people with AIDS and dumped there were brought to their yard by the dogs.
George Etoa, 20, said they wrote twice in 2004 and 2007 respectively highlighting the situation to the hospital management but they fell on deaf ears.
Former Nursing Officer Kaugo Degelmba, who has been living at Arabica all her life, said the bad smell from the disposal pits caused her to have severe heart burns.
She said small children and family members living there were prone to fall sick from bad odours, now with the threat of cholera they were more worried.
Ward three Councillor Bebe Savi, who looks after Arabica Street, said his people were prone to any diseases since the hospital had been improperly disposing its waste including human body parts and dead fetus into the same pit with general rubbish.
However, highly placed management sources at the hospital told The National that the human part might have come from a different source and not from the hospital.
“The dogs may have picked the finger from a cemetery or somewhere, it is definitely not from the hospital,” the source said.
The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity in the absence of chief executive officer Dr Joseph Apa, said it was unlawful for any hospital to improperly dispose human body parts.
He said any body parts taken off at the operating theatre was put into strong plastic bags and sent straight to the incinerator to be burnt off.
“Our inspection and control officers maintain very strict controls of waste management, we only dispose plastics, tins and papers into the holes dug behind the hospital,” he said.
The decomposing human hand has been placed in the hospital morgue.