Shutdown affects health

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By LULU MARK
ONLY a few days into the partial shutdown of church health services and its impact is felt throughout the country, according to health workers.
The PNG Christian health services (CHS) and Catholic-church health services (CCHS) served a stop-work notice through the Health Department on June 10, giving the state 15 working days to release outstanding grants since Feb.
Evangelical church of PNG (ECPNG) Hela health manager Keith Kedekai told The National that more than four months of not being paid was unjust and unfair on the Government’s part.
“People from different parts of the country are living and working in some of the most rural locations here and they need to eat and work,” he said.
“In Hela, 74 per cent of health facilities are run by the churches and we are scaling down.
“The morale of the health workers is really low hence, the Government must intervene.”
From Southern Highlands, CCHS and the provincial health authority (PHA), TB and HIV/AIDS coordinator Dunstan Konop confirmed that all their facilities had stopped and the Christian health services facilities had implemented partial stop work since Friday.
Konop said the majority of the health facilities there were run by churches and so patients were now forced to travel long distances to get help.
He said Government-run facilities which were fewer than 12, had seen an influx of patients and even the Mendi Provincial Hospital was seen closing at around 9pm on Sunday.
He said the decision to not attend to everyone that needed medical attention was a tough one for health workers, especially when serving with the church. But there was no choice, he added. “We have to comply with directions from our head office,” he said. “A meeting by the officers in charge of the facilities considered the possible impacts of the stop-work but it was also acknowledged that the staff had sacrificed a lot to keep working. Families are living off borrowed money and struggling to meet other expenses.”

7 comments

  • In the face of covid – 19, and the health facilities turning away patients client is really a dangerous trend, I believe the Government must step in or face the consequences that’s about to come up.

  • I belief there will be more severe experiences in 2021. Some of the important government services will shut down or face budget blow out resulting in services not reaching the people. Government must prepare to meet the demands. Health and Education sectors will be mostly affected.

  • The church health facility staff, are they on government pay roll or church pay roll. If on church pay roll and you want go on strike so the government will act is not correct.

  • Churches are providing such services in the rural communities in partnership with the government so GoPNG must honour it’s part of the bargain to provided much needed grants to help run these church-run rural services where in most cases is partly being funded by generous ‘love offering’ from the community themselves. GoPNG should STOP spending unnecessarily on admin costs especially vehicle hire and Covid-19 facilities in urban areas where no one is currently being admitted and cared for. 90% of the population is rural based so this should be where most funding is allocated.

  • When we talk about love of god, its through church, and that is shown through health services and education in rural areas where government can not commit to stand in for the poor people. Please government has to honor its commitment and support the church to keep them running. It does not matter what church it maybe, its the love of God alone, and that love is shown, and that LOVE alone is the source of peace, harmony and will take us to the place of eternity.

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