By Edwin Fidelis – EMTV News, Kokopo
The St. Mary’s Vunapope Hospital in East New Britain province is not a fancy hospital.
But it is one of the two largest referral hospitals in East New Britain province, catering to a significant population of East New Britain’s 300,000 men, women, and children.
Over the course of this year (2018), the hospital was forced to scale down its operations, prompted by two separate incidents.
In June, armed men broke into the female nurses quarters, and stole their belongings. The management closed the hospital for two days and sent patients away to show their frustration.
Six days ago, a similar incident happened yet again.
The hospital has since closed its doors from those seeking medical services.
“The management made a decision that we have to close the St. Mary’s Vunapope Hospital for an indefinite period. The reason is to address outstanding issues as well as the recent situation”, Albert Seri, the hospital administrator said.
After numerous meetings following last weekend’s incident, the hospital board has reached a resolution.
They agreed to reopen the hospital on Wednesday (November 21), but on one condition, asking the nearby communities to respect the health facility and its staff.
“We mustn’t continue like this. People will need to take ownership and support us in delivering the health services we provide at the hospital”, Seri said.
Although the hospital is categorized as a level 3 hospital, it is performing the roles and functions of a level five health facility.
And its closure over the past three days has greatly affected the entire province.
Last weekend’s incident is not the first, and may not be the last. But the senior management of the hospital has made a bold stand calling on the locals not to do the same again.
As any similar incident in the future may prompt a more dire outcome.