A new Isolation Unit for Covid-19 patients admitted at Mt Hagen Hospital in the Western Highlands Province was officially opened on Friday, 29th May 2020.
Funded by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the unit has a capacity to accommodate 12 patients. It also has a delivery room for expectant mothers, toilets and showers, PPE donning and doffing stations for staff, a tea room and an area for disinfection and waste management.
Speaking during the opening, Head of ICRC Sub Delegation in Mt Hagen, Stephanie Probst, said Covid-19 was an additional burden for vulnerable communities who were already experiencing difficulties to access basic services and sustain their livelihood.
“We provide basic information and awareness so that they can better understand in order to keep themselves safe and healthy from Covid-19 in their respective communities”, she said.
Ms Probst said ICRC was happy that it could support the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority (WHPHA) in its efforts to prepare well for Covid-19 should it enter the province.
A member of the Provincial Covid-19 Co-ordination Committee, Archbishop Douglas Young, thanked the ICRC for upgrading the Chapel into what has now become the new isolation unit.
He said if all concerned parties including the provincial administration, city authority, police and the political leadership in the province worked together with the WHPHA as a team, there would be improved health services in the province.
Archbishop Young added that during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, urgent financial resources were needed to put up infrastructure, carry out awareness and surveillance, buy PPE and drugs as well as medical equipment.
“Help during such crisis is very much appreciated but unfortunately we have not received any funding support from our Members even though they have made commitments to help”, he said.
“We want the Mt Hagen Market to re-open but it must first be refurbished and made hygienically fit and healthy with a proper management in place to ensure it is Covid-19 compliant.
“Our people lack basic information on Covid-19 and we need to get out there and conduct more awareness but we cannot because it requires materials, transportation and communication. At the moment we are financially handicapped”.
The Tininga Group of Companies has also assisted heavily in the preparations for Covid-19 by providing both cash and kind.
Managing Director, Pat Duckworth said the company wanted to give something back to the community and saw that investing in the WHPHA was the best way because it had a good management team that would run an effective health service for everyone to enjoy.