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.”
By LULU MARK