Reality for rural health workers

Main Stories, National

The National, Monday February 10th, 2014


A MALE health worker had to use a torch to deliver a baby at the Bogia health centre in Madang last Friday because there was no electricity supply.

Health extension officer Karoi Kamac also had to use a piece of bamboo to cut the umbilical cord because there was no scissors.

Kamac clamped the torch between his teeth to treat the woman who had just given birth to a baby boy.

He said there was no electricity at the level three health centre so he had to use a torch because it was dark.

“We usually use a mobile torch to do delivery or attend to emergency cases at night,” Kamac said.

Another mother, Pricilla Maget, who gave birth at 4am on Thursday said there was no sharp scissors to cut her baby’s umbilical cord.

“One woman ran out of the labour ward and brought back a stick of bamboo and used it to cut my baby’s umbilical cord,” Maget said.

She said her husband, who was a police officer in Bogia, was very angry because of the treatment his infant son received.

A sister on duty on Friday confirmed that there had been no electricity and water supply in the past two years. 

She said the steriliser to clean hospital equipment was not working.

Kamac said a two-year-old and a 15-year-old suffering from severe pneumonia died on Thursday because of a lack of oxygen.

“We do not have basic drugs, oxygen, water and electricity,” he said.

“The flywire at the wards is torn and there are no mattresses on the ward beds.”

The health centre has been condemned but there is no alternative for more than 200,000 people served by the health facility.

Police and other public servants’ staff houses need urgent maintenance and renovations.

“I had to put a dish under the leaking roof to store water every time when rain falls,” a policeman said.

Bogia people held a public forum on Friday and raised their concerns on the rundown infrastructure in the district.

They want Bogia MP John Hickey to explain how he is going to spend the K10 million development grant for the district.