Papua New Guinea must take advantage of the challenges and turn them into opportunities provided by COVID-19 pandemic response to improve the country’s fragile health system.
Deputy Controller of the National Pandemic Response, Dr. Daoni Esorom says a number of life saving equipment in hospitals throughout the country were non existent before COVID-19 was reported in the country.
Dr. Daoni however, said in our efforts to beef up the country’s health resources in the campaign against COVID-19, the country’s health system has benefited from some of the resources like medical procured through the COVID-19 funding like medical equipment that were not available before the pandemic .
“ How best do we ensure that COVID-19 leaves a legacy?” questioned Dr. Daoni.
He says the country needs to strategically use the resources in the campaign against COVID-19 to strengthen the country fragile health system.
We are procuring ventilators for the hospitals and we are working with PHAs (Provincial Health Authorities) to build intensive care units, isolation facilities, quarantine facilities which we have never done before,” said Dr. Daoni.
Some of these life saving equipment includes oxygen concentrators for all provincial hospitals. Dr Daoni says apart from that, a plan is now in place to use funds from COVID-19 to build regional oxygen plants in Porth Moresby, Lae, Mount Hagen and Kokopo.
So far over 500 oxygen concentrators and 300 ventilators have been purchased and supplied to the provinces.
“ In addition, we are purchasing 22 incinerators for all the provincial hospitals including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to utilize to manage their medical wastes,” said Dr. Daoni.
Before the arrival of COVID-19, a lot of hospitals throughout the country lacked incinerators which forced them to either bury the hospital rubbish or to burn them which was unhygienic.
But thanks to COVID-19, most provinces are set to have their own incinerators which will help them properly managed their wastes. These heavy duty incinerators are able to burn 50kg of waste per hour. These will be a huge relieve for the heath facilities.
The Deputy Controller said as part of the health strengthening approach, trainings are provided on clinical management, surveillance and laboratory among others.
Dr. Daoni in saying that called on all Chief Executive Officers of respective provincial health authorities to think strategically and utilize COVID-19 funds to strengthen some of the gaps within their respective health system.
He also called on PHA CEOs to look after these life – saving equipment.