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Senior hospital staff ordered not to talk about medicine shortage

Madang-s-Modilon-General-HospitalSCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

MADANG - The CEO of Modilon Hospital in Madang and the hospital’s Director of Medical Services have been issued directives barring them from talking about a medicine shortage at the hospital, EMTV’s Madang correspondent, Martha Louis, has reported.

This is not the first time senior health staff have been threatened and intimidated through orders from above,

Earlier last year, the health minister also issued directives barring staff and senior management from Angau Hospital from speaking out about the state of the cancer unit and a medicine shortage.

It is good that we still have doctors like Dr Sam Yockopua who are unafraid to speak out when there is a shortage of medicines and consumables. We all need to do the same.

While we understand that there are protocols that need to be followed, the ultimate aim of government is to serve the people of this country.

The suppression of important ‘voices of conscience’ like health workers and teachers when the problems are so obvious is detrimental to both the people and democracy.

I know of both older and younger public servants who are hardworking. They serve with an unrivalled passion in their fields. I know of health workers in Lae who serve with dignity despite the difficulties they face every day.

They don’t get paid as much as they should. Yet, they know they cannot shut down the clinic just because there is a shortage of medicine.  Their senior representatives should not be suppressed.

How can we fix a problem if we hide it? How can a doctor treat a patient if the patient doesn’t say what’s wrong?

Martha Louis reported that the hardest hit by the lack of medicines and the suppression of our voices are the patients.

“Papi Kalupi travels from his village at Ono in the Usino-Bundi District to get treatment in Madang,” she writes.

“But he says because of the cost of travelling he only comes to the hospital when he is very ill.

“Another long-time resident in Madang, Malai Kami, says he is now resorting to using herbal medicine to treat himself and his family. He says hospitals are not functioning as they did in the past.”

The people are the most accurate gauge of our social services. They won’t give you the bullshit we see in colourful statements with fancy letterheads.

We have to ask why our people are being forced to buy the most basic medicines – anti-malarial and antibiotics – at pharmacies.

Comments

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Philip Kai Morre

The country needs healthy people and the medical profession is a noble one in caring for patients in both physical and mental health.

Medical drugs are an integral part of the treatment and care of sick people and politicians and bureaucrats have an ethical responsibility to see that hospitals are fully equipped with facilities and medicines for the treatment of patients.

These people have the duty of trust and responsibility to see that medical drugs are supplied in a timely way and in both appropriate quality and quantity.

Doctors and nurses also have the responsibility to speak out against non compliance of supplying medical drugs. They have the moral duty to speak out against any injustices that affect human health.

Furthermore, ignoring health care is a violation against human rights. Every human being has the right to live healthily and get the right treatment. Whoever violates this right is denying justice.

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