The Radiology Department of Papua New Guinea’s National Referral Hospital has been closed since Thursday Last week.
The news was first broken by an Tweet that appeared under the pseudonym @Teetross.
“#PNG ur Capital City's Xray Unit has been closd since Thurs..WTF?! Adlt TB Xray screning Stopd 2”, @Teetross tweeted.
Hours later the Occupy Waigani movement posted a picture on their Facebook Page, calling on the Deputy Prime Minister and the Health minister to look into the matter. Both men were last seen at the hospital dishing out goodies on the eve of the major protest by the Occupy Waigani movement in Port Moresby.
At the time of Publication of this blog post, there were 58 “likes” and 30 comments posted regarding the photo. Most commentators slammed the two men for what they saw as electioneering.
Ms Serena Sasingan, the Executive Director of The Voice Inc. a group that’s gaining influence amongst PNG’s middle-class youth commented,
“What’s their slogan again "Young and vibrant leaders"..i feel sick when i see their billboards :/.”
Her sentiments were shared by most other commentators. One lone voice decided to take a much different view,
“People by now should understand, politicians are legislators, bureaucrats are implementers, so if its a politicians last visit before the election, he is mindful of his own pocket because he knows for sure that what he says will be implemented 10 years later or never and that the little people do not know and are fooled by sweet talks. These politicians must tell the truth for the little people to understand and that will make the country better.” Ako Omae PC commented.
Another commentator Eddie Connors, explained the reason for the closure of the X-ray Unit,
“My old man and woman were referred to POMGen for X-Ray. I took them both there last week Wednesday and were turned back. The nursing officer said that they have ran out off X-Ray film. So anyway we had to leave...so much to be desired for better health services not only in towns and cities but also in rural PNG,” he wrote.
The latest closure of the X-ray units means that an important diagnostic tools for various medical conditions would be unavailable to doctors. Screening for Tuberculosis has been affected.
Port Moresby General Hospital suffers from chronic shortages of drugs and medical supplies and continuously has break-downs of important bio-medical equipment. There has been no political will to address fundamental health needs of the Hospital, apart from pulling off publicity stunts.