Labour ward funds missing in Planning

Editorial, Normal

The National – Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I REFER to your report “CEO: No plans for labour ward due to no funds” by Alison Anis. (The National, Jan 25).
Many people reading this report will have difficulty understanding why it could be that “renovations to be carried out to specific sections of the hospital” did not include the labour ward where 40-plus mothers per day compete for  23 beds to deliver their babies.
Readers should be reassured that Port Moresby General Hospital CEO Sam Vegogo has not been fully reported and, in fact, he has not forgotten the place in the hospital so critical for the women and mothers of Port Moresby.
In fact, money was allocated for the renovation of the labour ward and other parts of the maternity wing of PMGH in 2008 but the contractor stopped work in Christmas 2009 because of non-payment for work already done.
The contractor, Ashan Ltd, completed renovations on ward 10 (ante-natal) and most of the labour ward, however, it was only paid the first progress payment in 2009 and nothing after that.
This means that ward 9 (gynaecology) and parts of the labour ward remain un-renovated and, therefore, derelict and unusable today.
The result is that gynaecology and labour ward patients are lying all over the floor of the other wards every day, making safe, effective and comfortable care of women who come to have their babies almost impossible.
In July-August last year, a high level committee comprising Planning (where the trust fund was lodged for this renovation work), Health and Finance departments and PMGH met to find out why Ashan Ltd had not been paid for the renovation project on the maternity unit of the hospital. The conclusion it reached was that the money had “disappeared” from the trust fund in the Department of Planning and Implementation and nobody knew where it was or who had taken it.
So your Jan 25 report of Vegogo stating that there are no funds at present to complete the renovation to the labour ward and remaining areas of the maternity wing should be interpreted in the light of the above.
The corporate plan he mentions will be about getting new money to replace that 2008 money that had been misappropriated by persons in the Department of Planning and Implementation or other persons who had access to the trust fund where the money set aside in 2008 was lodged.
The government should make weeding out corruption from the Department of Planning and Implementation a New Year resolution.


Cross health worker