BY ALEX DADAMU
THE already tight staff number at the Gizo Hospital in the western province have been reported stretched further to maximum by the reallocation of some staff to do COVID-19 related work.
According to an audio interview by a parliamentary delegation who visited the western province headed by the Opposition leader, Matthew Wale last month, the Gizo Hospital’s staff have expressed complaints stating that they have been over-worked and Fatigue is a very serious issue among them.
“With the limited staff – we are trying to share who to manage wards within the Hospital. Sometimes we get frustrated about very low staff issue when manning the wards. We are trying to allocate a well-trained (COVID-19 standard) dedicated staff,” Western provincial Health officials told the opposition delegation.
The officials revealed that the response to initially close Shortlands border has stretched their capabilities and man power because they have to send some of the staff to support local staff and care givers at the Border location to carry out COVID-19 preparedness duties.
The Opposition Leader, Matthew Wale told Parliament last week reiterating that fatigue at Gizo Hospital is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by the government.
The Opposition Leader further said Gizo hospital new TB ward has been improved to be the isolation ward for COVID-19 patients, however, the facility was simply not up to health safety standard for COVID-19 work.
“The health safety of staff working in this facility will be at risk if patients/suspects are admitted to this facility.
“If there are infected patients in the Gizo isolation facility, the risk is high that there will be transmission in the facility itself that may lead to community transmission,” Hon. Wale said.
The Opposition Leader in the meantime said that those are the fears conveyed by Gizo Hospital Staff and Health officials expressing that it is very demoralizing for those in the province.
Meanwhile, Speaking during his weekly address on COVID-19 updates, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has indicated that the western border is the biggest threat to COVID-19 entering in the country with the growing number of cases in Papua New Guinea and he called on all leaders in the border to stop all movements across the border.
Prime Minister Sogavare also revealed that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development are preparing plans for establishment of quarantine sites in Nila health center in the Shortlands Islands in addition to those existing at Gizo.
He added the Ministry of Health is also sending mission to strengthen the health center with the establishment of triage and isolation facilities— additional trainings are being planned for all Health care workers in Western and Choiseul Province.
The Prime Minister said the seriousness and gravity of this situation and its implication for our people and country must not be ignored or brushed aside. This threat is very real and serious.
“Therefore, I ask the Chiefs, elders, community leaders and the people of Shortlands, Choiseul and Malaita Outer Islands to stop any movements across our borders.
“I also ask that you all cooperate with our law enforcement officers to keep our people and country safe by reporting any person who crosses over from PNG. I also ask that any person who assists border crossers must be reported to the relevant authorities as well. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare appealed to communities in and around Shortlands Border.