Priest: Govt, church must not compete

National, Normal

The National, Monday, June 6th 2011

THERE should never be any competition in health services, a long serving and departing missionary in East New Britain says.
Fr William Schuerman said it was very important health services to the people were equal and that the government and churches should not compete or compare the services they provided.
He said not all situations were the same in all areas because of PNG’s mountainous and rugged landscape.
Schuerman said it was a challenge, especially to provide quality health care to the remote parts of Pomio and Baining areas.
Last Thursday Schuerman celebrated his golden jubilee as a priest in the province and was farewelled by staff and parishioners, including Governor Leo Dion after 35 years as chairman of St Mary’s Vunapope Hospital board.
He said Vunapope should become a recognised provincial hospital as it was still a health centre.
“It is important the hospital becomes more recognised, we must have equal wages as our nurses do the same work as those in government-recognised hospitals.
He said it was time for the government to sit down and decide equal wages across the board for all health care workers.
Catholic health secretary, Moses Bogandri said although Vunapope was still classified as a health centre, it was at times difficult to deliver quality health services to people, adding the facility faced a shortage of staff and needed funds to provide quality service.
He acknowledged Schuerman for his contribution, saying he had done a lot for the hospital and for the archdiocese of Rabaul.
Dion said people should appreciate the work of missionaries as they were part of our history and Schuerman had been part of that progress over the years, adding  the government and church should exchange notes every now and then so partnership could be realised.
Schuerman was ordained a priest in Germany in 1961 and came to Vunapope in 1963. He returns to Germany because of health reasons.