ALL major hospitals in the country are barely coping as they respond to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
These includes the Mt Hagen General Hospital, Angau General Hospital, Goroka General Hospital and Port Moresby General Hospital.
“We’re at the moment barely managing with the existing load. There are surges occurring in all the major centres,’’ said Dr Gary Nou, Team lead for Emergency Medical Team at the National Control Centre and NCC clinical lead Dr Scotty Kandelyo, who is also the country’s Deputy Chief Emergency for the Highlands and Momase regions.
In NCD, the COVID-19 isolation facilities at Gerehu General Hospital and Taurama Acquatic Centre are also full.
“Patients are lying everywhere. The situation is dire,’’ said the two doctors.
They said there are so many patients, not just those seeking help for COVID-19 but also other illnesses and the situation with COVID-19 is overwhelming for the health workers.
The NCC EMT is currently working on bringing into the country medical teams to help the already exhausted health workers in different parts of the country.
On Saturday, five members of the Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AusMat) arrived in Port Moresby to do the groundwork for the engagement of their members. AusMat meets the entire cost of their engagement with no financial help coming from the Government of PNG.
Dr Nou said the other team, UK Medical Team, is also sending a team and are currently working on their visas.
“These are clinical teams comprising of senior specialists, nurses and all cadres of health workers that are needed in the response. They are needed everywhere in the country. Our own health workers are overwhelmed. They are burned out,’’ said Dr Nou.
In this third wave of COVID-19 many health workers have died, further putting a strain on the existing manpower as well as the weak health system.
Meanwhile, Deputy Controller of the National Pandemic Response Dr Daoni Esorom has reiterated his call to everyone in the country to listen and follow the Niupela Pasin, including wearing facemasks in public spaces; avoiding of crowds; washing of hands regularly with soap or sanitizing if there is no water; and physical distancing by 1.5 to 2 metres in public venues, including shops, markets and bus-stops.
“I cannot but continue to say this that unless we all cooperate, the virus will continue to spread in our communities. We’ve lost so many people and we cannot continue like this. Please listen and follow instructions.’’
Dr Daoni has also expressed concern that as the holiday season is approaching and people go to their home villages, they may take the virus with them so he urges everyone to do whatever they can to ensure the virus does not spread to the rural areas.
“If it does, we will not be able to help many people because many villages are not accessible by road transport in order for people to go quickly to the health facilities to seek help when they are sick with COVID-19. Let us all be responsible and do what we are being told to do: Follow the Niupela Pasin. Together we will beat this pandemic.’’