PORT MORESBY - Tributes have poured in for a doctor in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province who died last week, in the country’s first death of a healthcare worker from Covid-19 confirmed by the government.
Dr Naomi Kori Pomat, 60, the director for curative health services at the Western Provincial Health Authority, was medevaced to Port Moresby after contracting the virus and died on 19 September.
Her son, Dr David Pomat, told the Guardian: “Dr Naomi Pomat was my mother and we loved her very dearly … a wonderful, loving, humble and selfless woman who literally gave her life to serving her people despite all odds.”
Well wishes have poured in over social media, with friends and family who knew her remembering her life and her dedication to the people of Western Province.
The Western Province Health Authority said she was the first female doctor from the province and the first female specialist medical officer in the province, working as a paediatrician.
Later she became the director of the Curative Health Service to the Western Province Health Authority.
“She set the standard, and a challenge that will motivate the young people,” the Authority wrote in its announcement of her death on Facebook.
“It’s a huge vacuum late Dr N Pomat left. In the PNG medical [fraternity] it’s a great loss. Thank you for serving PNG and Western Province with distinction.”
In another tribute, parents of a young child Dr Pomat helped care for wrote: “In some of the most trying months of our lives, she was there offering guidance and encouragement.
“She was soft spoken and gentle, yet unmoveable in her determination to honour God and to love people. The world was a better place with her in it.”
Acting prime minister Soroi Eoe said Dr Pomat was unvaccinated and urged all medical practitioners get vaccinated to protect themselves.
It is believed that other health workers from PNG have died from Covid-19, but this is the first death of a doctor that the government has announced it believes has been due to the virus.