How the political class gives us crap leaders
Covid crisis: What PNG Attitude readers say

‘Patients are lying everywhere, the situation is dire’

Medical staff work in haste to treat a Covid patient in Port Moresby General Hospital


NOOSA – As Papua New Guinea’s Covid crisis deepens, it has been revealed that the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) morgue is so overwhelmed a mass burial of 200 bodies is being arranged.

The PMGH official Facebook page announced this morning that the hospital “is reaching a crisis point, with services teetering on collapse unless we are immediately given more support.

“Our hospital cannot continue to operate under this pressure.”

“Patients are lying everywhere, the situation is dire,” said a doctor.

Furthermore, 52 medical officers and 42 nursing staff at the hospital have been infected with Covid.

Covid patients have filled all allocated wards as well as the emergency department, the maternity wing and the Australia-provided triage tent.

PNG’s health minister Jelta Wong has announced work has started on a 500-bed field hospital.

The hospital’s mortuary recorded 120 deaths on admission between Monday and Wednesday.

“We have never recorded such a high number of deaths on admission,” the hospital said.

Covid1bedPNG has a long-standing shortage of medical staff and in a country of nine million people there are 4,000 nurses and just 500 doctors.

PMGH has about 1,600 staff including an estimated 230 doctors and 800 nurses.

The National Covid Control Centre reports that all major hospitals in PNG are now struggling to cope.

In Lae, the Angau Memorial Hospital morgue is full and so is the Morobe Covid facility morgue and staff are stacking corpses on top of each other.

Meanwhile, health officers responsible for 4,000 AstraZeneca vaccines meant for Madang will be charged after the consignment was left at Port Moresby airport for four days and had to be discarded.

And in the United Kingdom, a 10-person emergency medical team is still awaiting visa clearance before deploying to Goroka to assist with its overwhelmed hospital

In another story, the secretive investigative group, PNGi, believed to be based in the United Kingdom, reports that rampant corruption and mismanagement in the PNG health department is responsible for the unchecked escalation of deaths caused by drug shortages in hospitals and clinics.

“None of these issues are new,” the report says. “As far back as 2002, the Australian government had to step in with K20 million in emergency funding to address a nationwide drug shortage.

“Australian support ended though in 2013, after the controversial decision to award a K71 million drug procurement contract to Borneo Pacific.”

Paul Dopsie and Pascoe Kase
Paul Dopsie and Pascoe Kase

PNGi later published a three-part investigative series, ‘Profiting From Sickness’, exposing the extortionate commercial transactions, flawed bidding processes and the distribution of overpriced and sub-standard medical goods.

The chair of the health department’s technical evaluation committee, Paul Dopsie, became the target of a police investigation into bribery claims and was suspended by department head Pascoe Kase.

It was recently reported that the national court had ordered Dopsie be reinstated to his former position.

The Public Service Commission has also recommended Dopsie be reinstated as no criminal charges have been laid against him.

Sources: Post-Courier, Haus Bung, PMGH Facebook, AAP, The National, Pacific Beat, PNGi


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Lindsay F Bond

Thanks to Natalie Whiting and Bethanie Harriman on ABC news tonight. Australians saw a report of the present day to day reality of PNG health service provisioning.

There is insufficiency in that delivery, and absolute absence of needed equipment and medications.

Covid-19 hardly gets a mention, the typical emergence of cases having already overwhelming effect on communities and medical staff.

As well as from my observation of that and other reports, at Oro Bay in 2005, I saw a hospital in such dire need that tears whelmed as I recalled our two children born there (1969, 1971).

That hospital was, in 2012, largely rebuilt and equipped, by providence of humanitarian folk in Australia (inclusive of Christian and religious and more broadly in community), all in support of and with PNG Government cooperation.

So, as per example, it can be improved, where goodwill gives rise to participation and cooperation.

At Kabwum, report is of matters difficult to comprehend and harder to accept, that after months, its health centre (demolished to make way for a new facility) has so far, a slab poured.

We can only hope that the contractor is active and achieving construction objectives. We do hope the PNG Government (not only the Health Department) is also awake, aware, arranging auspiciously, and likewise assisting achievement of objective.

Lindsay F Bond

Just today we see that "St John chief executive officer Matt Cannon said", “We are in disbelief of the exclusion of reference to ambulance services in the national budget, again."
So say all of us. Astonished.

Lindsay F Bond

Of course it's all about the novel virus Covid-19. No question.
Now here is information for the men of PNG.


No doubt the traditional ways of village life put some people at risk, yet because those people are female, the Nation has yet to grow in comprehension and delivery of services to meet needs that men hardly touch upon.

Chris Overland

This is very sad. I am truly despondent about how badly the pandemic has been managed in PNG and, as I have previously noted, by the apparent massive indifference of the Australian government.

Another shameful episode in what is now a litany of incompetence at just about every level, with the noble exception of the front line staff who are doing their best in appalling circumstances.

Stephen Charteris

So very sad. The juggernaut rolls on. The cast of the health department mafia are known to Australian authorities.

Independent audits since 2002 confirm that the occasional rearrangement of the deck chairs has changed little.

Want progress? Start looking at social innovation in health delivery with more emphasis on bottom-up models.

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