The letter written by Judith Sirias (The National, Mar 13) highlighting the fact that the absence of a doctor at Raihu District Hospital, in Aitape, is causing the death of pregnant mothers is cause for despair.
This is the tip of the iceberg and helps to cast the spotlight on the problems, especially health issues, faced by ordinary people of the four districts of West Sepik
Out of those four districts, Vanimo General Hospital is the main referral provincial hospital and that is the one that is functioning well.
Telefomin, Aitape/Lumi and Nuku districts have their own district hospital but they don’t have a doctor on site.
Patients in those district hospitals are looked after by health extension officers, nursing officers and community health workers.
How can these people attend to complications they are not qualified or trained to deal with, like a mother with breeched twins going into labor, for example?
If she should need a caesarean section, who will perform the surgery when there is no doctor at the hospital?
Can the Sandaun Provincial Health Authority do something?
Leaders of each district should have a sense of responsibility and find a way to have a doctor available at these district hospitals. One way of dealing with the problem is to train doctors who can take up positions in these rural centres.
Sandaun, where are we?