Health Staff Told to Change Attitudes

Health workers in the Western Highlands Province have been told to change their attitudes towards work if they are serious about helping sick people.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority (WHPHA), Mr. David Vorst said staff must commit themselves fully to their work if they want to help others including mothers and children.

He was speaking at the launching of the first ever Provincial Maternal Health Task Force and Maternal Death Review Committee at Hotel Kimininga in Mt Hagen recently.

Mr. Vorst told the participants that at the end of the meeting everyone needed to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”. He said often we were good at talking but less good at implementing programs.

He gave an example of how Susan Moses, a young mother from the remote Jimi District in Jiwaka Province had been saved in 2012 when she had retained placenta after delivering her fifth child. Health workers could not remove the placenta and had to stretcher her for four days to the nearest airstrip at Koinambe where she was airlifted to Mt Hagen and saved.

Mr. Vorst said Susan’s life was saved because a former director for curative health services, Dr. Guapo Kiagi had said WHPHA’s core business was patient care and the management could not sit back and say there was no money to fly her in.

“This event had resulted in a change in attitude and since then our care for mothers and children has increased”, he told the participants.

He said service partners such as Susu Mamas, Marie Stopes, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and Anglicare have also committed resources to improve maternal health services and their efforts were very much appreciated.

Mr. Vorst said one of the biggest problems in health service delivery was there was not enough accountability and as such the Call Centre (Free Call 1542) had been set up by the Australian Government’s health service provider, HHISP in partnership with the WHPHA and everyone needed to increase their level of commitment in their work.

“The theme agreed to by the WHPHA Board for 2016 is “Achievement through Positive Change and Affirmative Action.” By adopting this theme the Board was hopeful that we would achieve more for patients and not just talk more”.

“Let’s see some action out of this workshop”, he said.