By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV Online
While on-going improvements are notable at the country’s biggest health facility, the Port Moresby General Hospital, there is an urgent dilemma in the emergency department that authorities have yet to address – the shortage of beds and room to accommodate for the sick and wounded, among other problems.
The relatively new emergency department was opened in December, 2012 and provides urgent medical care for cases of illnesses, accidents and other medical emergencies and operates 24 hours a day throughout the year.
However, twenty-four months on and the ER faces ongoing issues with being unable to adequately cater for patients and function as expected of an ’emergency room’ while maintaining higher standards.
The sick are continuously faced with age old problems year after year at the country’s biggest health facility.
With an estimated 65, 000 presentations per annum from the National Capital District and the Central Province; the ER’s corridors have been turned into somewhat of a makeshift ward, with patients sleeping on the floors to receive treatment or wait to be transferred to other wards, after being admitted.
Not only is this uncomfortable for patients, but makes them all the more vulnerable to other sicknesses as well. For a city that is undergoing major developments in preparation for events like the Pacific Games, the state of its public hospital’s emergency room is a cause for concern and does not reflect well on the health sector or the city as a whole.
The hospital’s website states that there are 31 beds in total at the emergency department. From the 31 – one Resus room, three 3 Resus bays, seven acute beds, 10 short stay beds and 10 “isolation” beds.
With the growing population of the National Capital District, there is great need for services and facilities at the hospital’s emergency room to sufficiently meet the demands placed upon it.
According to the hospital, there are up to 60 patients that are registered per eight-hour shift; with an estimated 20% being trauma cases, 15% being paediatric cases, a further 20 % registered as malaria cases and the remaining 20% being that of tuberculosis cases.
With a growing populace and other added constraints, the need to have a better equipped ER that can handle patients simultaneously, is all the more apparent.
Growing concerns have also been raised at the lack of manpower at the emergency department. Patients complain that it is becoming a norm to be told by hospital staff that either doctors aren’t available or there is a shortage of nurses to attend to them.