EMTV’s Madang Correspondent, Martha Louis, reported yesterday that the CEO of Madang Hospital and the Director, Medical Services have been, reportedly, issued directives through a circular barring them from talking about the medicine shortage at Modilon Hospital.
This is not the first time senior health staff have been threatened and intimidated through orders “from above.”
Earlier last year, the health Minister also issued directives barring staff and senior management from Angau hospital from speaking out about the state of the cancer unit and the medicine shortage.
It is good that we still have doctors like Dr. Sam Yockopua, who are unafraid to speak out when there is a shortage of medicines and consumables. We all need to do the same.
While we understand that there are protocols that need to be followed, the ultimate aim of government is to serve the people of this country.
The suppression of important ‘voices of conscience’ like health workers and teachers when the problems are so obvious is detrimental to both the people and democracy.
I know of both older and younger public servants who are hardworking. They serve with an unrivalled passion in their fields. I know of health workers in Lae who serve with dignity despite the difficulties they face every day.
They don’t get paid as much as they should. Yet, they know they cannot shut down the clinic just because there is a shortage of medicine. Their senior representatives should not be suppressed.
How can we fix a problem if we hide it? How can a doctor treat a patient if the patient doesn’t say what’s wrong?
Martha Louis reported yesterday that the hardest hit by the lack of medicines and the suppression of our voices are the patients.
“Papi Kalupi travels from his village at Ono in the Usino-Bundi District to get treatment in Madang. But he says he says, because of the cost of travelling, he only comes to the hospital when he is very ill.
“Another longtime resident in Madang, Malai Kami, says he is now resorting to using herbal medicine to treat himself and his family. He says hospitals are not functioning as they did in the past.”
The people are the most accurate gauge of our social services. They won’t give you the bullsh*t we see in colorful statements with fancy letterheads.
We have to ask why our people are being forced to buy the most basic medicines – anti-malarial and antibiotics – at pharmacies?