By JAMES GUMUNO and Rebecca Kuku
MT HAGEN General Hospital in the Highlands has run out of drugs and intravenous fluids to treat its patients, it was announced yesterday as doctors and nurses came under harassment and threats from patients and tribespeople demanding treatment.
Yesterday morning, doctors and nurses told people to look after themselves.
Curative health services acting director Dr Maddison Dat told a big gathering in front of the hospital car park that the Government had not supplied medicines for the hospital.
He said it was the responsibility of the Government and Health Department to buy drugs and send them to the area medical store located at Dobel, where they and other Highlands hospitals get their supplies. That facility was now empty, Dat said.
He said during the past few months, the hospital had only received 30 per cent of the medicines it ordered, and those had been used up too.
Dat said they visited all aid posts and collected unused medicines.
Those have also been used up.
“We, the staff of the hospital, are carrying out this awareness to inform the public that the hospital or the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority are not responsible for buying drugs,” he said.
“We will be around but will not do much to serve you like in the past, we will write prescription and you buy your medicine at pharmacies.”
Public health director Benson Safi told the crowd that people must understand that there was no medicine.
“I appeal to the people not to come and attack the health workers, it’s not their fault that there are no medical drugs.”
Safi said the authority did not have money to buy medicine for the hospital.
He urged the people to look after themselves during the election period.
Safi said simple things like washing of hands after going to the toilet and before eating were vital.
Meanwhile, the National Executive Council announced that it has appointed a contractor to supply medical kits to health centres and aid posts.
Health Secretary Pascoe Kase said the supply of medical kits was different from the pharmaceuticals drugs issue facing public hospitals.
“The medical kits supply is for health centres and aid post across the country whilst the pharmaceutical drugs supply or medicine is for hospitals across the country to address the medicine shortage,” he said.
“The contractor (of medical kits) has been informed and is working on making up the kits for delivery and distribution.”
Kase did not name the company.
For medicines, he said five suppliers had been picked for a six-month trial.
A longer contract would be offered based on that, Kase said.
“As you will be aware, there is a lot of work being undertaken by my team to address the medical supplies shortages in the country.”
He said funding for public hospitals had been approved and would be paid out shortly.
Source : thenational.com.pg