Rural hospital in Morobe facing shortage of workers

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By EREBIRI ZURENUOC
THE Lutheran Church-run Etep Rural Hospital in Tewai-Siassi district of Morobe is in need of manpower to treat patients, nurses revealed yesterday.
During the visit by Bavarian bish Heinrich Bedford-Strohm and Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu, nursing staff and doctors highlighted some of their concerns.
Community health worker (CHW) Ate Ikising said there was a need for staff.
“Staff strength is declining and we need more nurses to serve here,” said community health worker Ate Ikising.
“We do not usually follow up on our shifts because there are many sick people.
“Sometimes, we cannot look after our families, because if we do, there will be no one to take care of the patients at the outpatient and ward.
“People need urgent care most times, which means we need to attend to them quickly so that they can go home.”
Ikising said the common sicknesses were malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis and asthma.
The hospital has 25 nurses and CHWs, with two doctors.
It has three surgeons from overseas, who have been serving since Jan 2018.
One is from Germany, Dr Simon Ganal, and two from Madagascar, Andri Hervien and his wife Lala.
Bishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG Jack Urame said the challenge today was that many health workers could not work in rural areas because of the remoteness.
“There are a lot of challenges that workers face,” he said.
“There are also a lot of challenges that health facilities face, from finance to shortage of medicine to shortage of manpower.
“We cannot only preach and pray for the people to get well.
“We need to provide basic health services like medical tests and medicine to make sure people get healed.
“When the services are limited, we look to our partners such as ELC Bavaria and others for help.”
Ganal, who is a trauma/orthopedic surgeon, said the rural hospital served more than 150,000 people each year from the remote areas of Kabwum, Tewai-Siassi and even Rai Coast in Madang.
“We cannot refer patients to Lae because it is risky by boat,” he said.

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