Seminary reeling from virus

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TWENTY-ONE students attending Good Shepherd Seminary in Banz, Jiwaka, have tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Catholic Church says.
Seminary rector Fr Raphael Mel said the positive students were among a group of 73 students.
He said the church had used its own resources to provide treatment, food and isolation facilities for the affected students because there was no Government funding to assist the Fatima Health Centre which would normally take care of patients.
Fr Raphael said there were no testing kits in Jiwaka, so they had to travel to Mt Hagen and collect 50 testing kits from the Catholic church-run Rebiamul Health Centre to test the students.
He said the seminary had cancelled its graduation ceremony which was supposed to take place last week.
Fr Raphael said funding and equipping health facilities needed to be the Government’s priority area.
He said Good Shepherd Seminary had spent K1,400 on medicines (azithromycin and vitamin D) for the positive students.
Fr Raphael said it was the Government’s responsibility to provide health care for its citizens, and added that it could not use the excuse of a lack of funding as the recent large Government contingent to a climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, proved that the State still did not have its priorities right.
Fr Raphael said he spent more than K5,000 to help the students because Government-run health facilitates did not have proper treatment facilities.
He said PNG was fortunate that the church was providing health services throughout the country, but, the Government could not neglect its responsibility to be the main health care provider.
Fr Raphael said people were dying at public hospitals and the Government needed to make sure health facilities were fully equipped and staffed.
“Almost half of my students have been affected and if I waited on the hospitals to treat them, some could have lost their lives,” he said.
“I had to spend money to save my students.”