by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
Eastern Highlands Provincial Health Authority CEO, Lillian Siwi has dismissed claims that over 400 hospital staff walked off their jobs several days ago.
Her responses came yesterday amidst growing public concern that the hospital had closed its doors to patients seeking treatment.
She also welcomed the move by Health Minister, Michael Malabag for a commission of inquiry team to be sent to Goroka in two weeks to investigate the Health Authority Board.
This comes after reports on Monday of the hospital closing after the mass resignations of 400 workers.
The cause of the alleged mass resignation was a backlog of complaints and strikes staged by unions over poor working conditions and lack of equipment.
Former Hospital Manager, Dr Francis Wandi spoke out about the challenges the hospital faced, including funding constraints to buy basic hospital needs like detergents and gloves.
But Provincial Health Authority CEO, Lillian Siwi says Dr Wandi has financial powers of up to K20,000 to buy materials.
“If it exceeded K20,000, then a request must be put in to the PHA Board,” says Siwi. The Eastern Highlands Health Authority was established together with the Western Highlands and Milne Bay health authorities, but it has struggled to fulfil its purpose.
There have been four successive CEOs appointed and many say there is a power struggle in management for the top job.