By PISAI GUMAR
SEVEN health unions in Morobe have urged the Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Jelta Wong and Prime Minister James Marape to intervene and revoke the reappointment of Angau Memorial Hospital acting chief executive officer Grant Muddle.
They also called for the dissolution of the Morobe health authority (MPHA) board and the appointment of a new board.
The unions comprise the National Doctors Association, National Doctors Association-Mamose branch, Allied Health Workers, Health Workers Support Staff, National Nursing Association, Community Health Workers Association and medical laboratory technical personnel who have made the joint call for the removal of Muddle.
National Doctors Association-Mamose regional representative Dr Steven James said that MPHA was unable to recognise the depth of health workers’ concerns and the implications of Covid-19 preparedness and lives of frontline health workers.
Other issues alleged to be related to the hospital’s lack of adequate preparation to manage Covid-19 cases include:
- THE questionable recruitment of Muddle, a non-clinician, on a three-year contract worth K3.5 million;
- MUDDLE’S decision to force out human resource manager Daniel Narakou and director medical services Dr Ruso Peroni without following due process;
- FAILURE to provide leadership in medical and corporate governance by creating a clear MPHA organisational governance structure incorporating Angau with the provincial health division;
- FAILURE to provide leadership in Covid-19 preparedness and response;
- THE Morobe health authority board and Muddle’s failure to convene a meeting with clinical officers to give clear directives and instructions for the state of emergency (SOE);
- NO Covid-19 facility in place for screening and testing, should any persons of interest be identified while staff are not yet fully trained and lack basic personal protective equipment; and,
- LACK of standard operation procedures (SOP) for case management yet to be developed for hospital and highly infectious waste and dead disposal.
Dr James said there were also serious allegations of fraud and abuse of public finance, human resource and procurement procedures that required an independent investigation. He said the union was prepared to take their concerns to the Lae police fraud office to investigate adding that they had “hard evidence” to back their claims.
MPHA board chairman David Wissink said last Friday that the board had consulted widely with all stakeholders and relevant personnel, when deciding to extend Muddle’s role as acting CEO of the authority.