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.
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.”
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