Kind hearted citizens from Western Highlands have raised more than K30,000 to assist the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority (WHPHA) in its preparation and response to Covid-19.
A total of K32,057.39 was raised through various fundraising activities and donations by businessmen and women, public servants, private sector employees, University of PNG students and friends who live, work and operate businesses in Mt Hagen, Port Moresby and elsewhere including overseas.
A team led by lawyer, Desmond Kipa travelled to Mt Hagen to personally deliver the cheque to the WHPHA on Friday, 5th June 2020 on behalf of the concerned citizens.
Mr Kipa said it was sad to hear that the WHPHA was not able to fully implement its Covid-19 preparedness plan due to lack of financial support from the Government and he hoped the contribution his team made would help meet some of its plans.
“We raised the funds through social media by putting out messages that WHPHA needs our help. We have heard from our parents and relatives that Mt Hagen Hospital is now a better place with improved services so that’s why we decided to raise funds to help”, he said.
Mr Kipa said many of those who helped were friends who started their education in Western Highlands and others who had a giving heart as well as University of PNG students from Western Highlands who contributed K1,000.
Another lawyer, Daniel Piam of Doa & Piam Lawyers of Mt Hagen joined the team at the presentation and added another K2,000, bringing the total amount raised by all the concerned citizens to K32,057.39.
Mr Piam said his firm was very thankful and appreciated what the WHPHA was doing for the people of Western Highlands, adding that it was this leadership and heart for serving the people that made them want to help.
“Your leadership and heart to serve our people is good so we are helping. We assure you we are behind you in this cause”, he said.
WHPHA Deputy Board Chairman, Michael Pundia in accepting the contributions on behalf of the board, management and staff, applauded the team for taking the initiative to raise such a huge amount of money that would help their people when they are affected by Covid-19.
Mr Pundia said the outbreak of Covid-19 was a national issue and while the WHPHA has done its best with its limited financial resources to make preparations to prevent the spread of the virus, there had been very little support from the National Department of Health (NDoH).
“What is even worse and frustrating is that the Members of Parliament from the province had made a commitment of K1.5 million more than six weeks ago but to date, their only contribution has been words.
“We have used up our operational funds to build infrastructure and buy personal protective equipment, drugs, reagents, cartridges and other medical equipment to prepare for Covid-19 but how long will they continue to delay this”, he asked.
Mr Pundia said that for PNG to know if it was free from Covid-19, it needed to do more tests not only of people with symptoms of the virus but others as well and this meant more swabs, cartridges and reagents were needed and the WHPHA did not have enough of any of them.
“The government has given K200,000 and I am very disappointed with the NDoH for not doing much to help us as well as other provinces to prepare for the onslaught of Covid-19”, he said.
Mr Pundia said despite not receiving the much needed funding support, they were very fortunate to have the support of some members of the business community in Mt Hagen who have helped to prepare for Covid-19.
He said the Tininga Group of Companies in particular had been very supportive from day one by providing cash and materials and thanked them as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross who had helped set up the isolation unit and the fence around the second quarantine tent.
“I am so much grateful to you Mr Kipa and your team who have gone out of your way to help raise these funds. This signifies your concerns towards the health of your people and on behalf of the people of Western Highlands, we (WHPHA) say thank you very much for the great initiative and gesture you have shown us”.
Photos: Pictured here are lawyer, Mr Desmond Kipa and his team presenting the donation to WHPHA Deputy Board Chairman, Michael Pundia as CEO, David Vorst and his management team look on in appreciation.