THE local Tari community including their political and business leaders are rallying to increase security at the Tari General Hospital.
This follows the sudden evacuation of international medical team, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) – Doctors Without Borders – from Tari two weeks ago after a series of attacks by drunkards on the MSF staff and patients.
MSF decided to withdraw its services in Tari and evacuate eight of the international MSF staff from Tari just before Christmas due to the lack of proper security at the hospital and the constant attack and assault by drunkards at the cover of the night on MSF staff, patients and properties.
Following their withdrawal, operations at the Tari hospital were severely affected as life-saving surgeries from injuries, violence and accidents could not be carried out.
MSF has warned that unless the authorities in Tari do something about improving security at the hospital, MSF would not return to Tari just yet although they felt that their service was needed most in Tari and the Hela region.
Tari-based road international contractor Curtain Brothers (CB) PNG Ltd had assisted in recruiting 10 men who would work with the other 10 guards at the hospital.
Tari CB site manager David Daly said in an understanding with SHP Governor Anderson Agiru, CB had decided to step in and provide security at the hospital in order for the MSF team to return and continue their service.
Mr Daley would provide training, uniforms and salaries for the new guards for about 10 fortnights until the hospital organises its own security.
Hospital CEO Dr Bravy Koensong said the additional security was a temporary arrangement for about 10 weeks before permanent security measures were put in place.
He said he needed about K5 million a year to effectively run the hospital, which had been upgraded from a 30-bed to 90-bed level five hospital.
Dr Koensong said he was thankful to Mr Agiru, who had promised to provide K300,000 this year to build a security fence around the hospital to protect the staff, patients and properties.
Two MSF members also returned to Tari last Sunday to assess the latest developments of the security issue at the hospital.
A public notice placed by MSF at Tari hospital yesterday stated that the pair would return to Port Moresby and brief the MSF authorities on whether or not to return and continue their service.