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  • Nigel Akuani

Improve PNG Health System to address pandemic

Port Moresby: Address first the country’s eroding Health System, then focus on resolving the Covid pandemic.

The strong call was made by six confident and knowledgeable students of Caritas Business College on Wednesday 16th March 2022, during their talk on the topic ‘Impact of Covid on PNG Health System’.

Undertaking studies in Diploma in Tourism Hospitality Management (DTHM), and Diploma in Office Administration (DOA), the students were clearly well-articulated in their discussion, raising many issues on the topic. Their focus was on the current condition of PNG’s Health System; the pandemic and corruption’s impact on the economy and the labour force; strain placed on youth and students’ education; ramifications in society caused by lack of knowledge on Covid; a reminder to be responsible and uphold safety protocols in place against the virus; and a demand for government authorities to seriously look into upgrading the country’s health system to alleviate the hurt felt by many.

Undertaking his First-Year in DTHM, Jahmal Relep, explained that the pandemic had triggered much panic due to the spiking death toll, and caused overcrowding of patients in many hospitals and health centres. “Much funding in the millions was provided to reduce its effects on our people, however, ‘Where has all that money gone to?’ is the question that remains to be answered,” he said.

“Apart from the country’s deteriorating health system, we now have the European war and the pandemic still going on causing havoc, and we are beginning to see the inflation in prices of goods and services, a rise in looting and opportunism, increased unemployment, killings, and a surge in deaths. Our economic downfall will not be because of Covid or the war in Europe. It will be because of corruption, mismanagement, and overindulgence of funds,” he cautioned.

First-Year student in DOA, Melanie Taneku, urged for people to be considerate of their loved ones and those vulnerable to the virus, and be responsible in adhering to the government-sanctioned safety protocols in place. “Yes, young people are less prone to the virus, but for the sake of our family and friends we need to take responsibility by first taking precaution. Ever since the rollout of the vaccination, many citizens have resisted, and this was shown in past months, where protests were staged in defiance to the medically approved vaccine,” she said.

“These are critical times we are in and we need to cooperate. Let us work with our health workers and use the modern technology of social media for awareness campaigns and advocacy drives, to inform and educate the people. All the backlash and hesitancy in being vaccinated is all due to lack of knowledge about the virus that could potentially lead to strife and disorder in our country,” she warned.

Steven Ateave, studying his Second-Year in DOA, implored for more exercise of truth and said the over influx of false information about Covid circulated especially on social media, was hazardous to the wellbeing of individuals. “Let us wake up and start helping our fellow citizens. Stop spreading false information intended to cause panic, fear and chaos. Instead let us spread messages of positivity, hope, inspiration, and above all, the peace given to us by Jesus Christ,” he said.

Stacey Raphel, Second-Year in DOA, closed off the discussion urging for the Marape-Basil government to first and foremost address the Health-System problem to genuinely tackle the Covid pandemic and other impending issues affecting the nation.

Student Animator, Ms Jannelyn Catague, thanked the team of TribeFM for giving her students the opportunity to speak, and advised others as well as youths to embrace such initiatives intended to build and enhance their communication skills.

Recalling the ordeal of the Covid pandemic faced in the country, Raymond Polon, TribeFM Host, said that it was only fair and imperative to have the voices and concerns of our younger generation amplified through the media.

For Wednesday 23rd March, Chat Room will have students from De La Salle Secondary discuss the topic ‘Building Youth Resilience against Covid’.

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