Port Moresby hospital scales down services due to covid breach

The children's malnutrition ward at Port Moresby General Hospital ... emergency services retained. Image: Louise Lane/Unicef

By Grace Auka-Salmang in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea’s Port Moresby General Hospital is scaling down its services due to covid-19 cases being detected on its premises.

The hospital chief executive officer, Dr Paki Molumi, said that since yesterday the hospital had gone into emergency mode.

“For PMGH operations, it is mandatory for all staff to wear a face mask, including anyone visiting the hospital,” Dr Molumi said.

READ MORE: Two more covid-19 cases in Port Moresby

“Since the announcement of the covid-19 case number 12 to 16, the hospital has scaled down its services.

As of yesterday, the consultation clinic has been reduced to no more than 15 patients a session.

“PSOs and respective clinics must ensure that this is implemented efficiently and crowd control adequately managed by all staff concerned with consultation clinics including security personnel,” Dr Molumi said.

“The Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) is within the PMGH. Due to infection control measures like cleaning up the entire hospital, we are into emergency mode as of today so that cleaning up takes places in Ward 2A, consultation clinic, emergency department and other parts of the hospital.”

Enabling staff assessment
Dr Molumi said surgery had been scaled down to allow staff to assess the situation in coming weeks – depending on the results all services could return to normal.

In the meantime, someg services would be affected as a result of these measures to mitigate and address the covid-19 outbreak at the hospital.

The services include pathology services. Urgent tests such as the cross-match and blood transfusion services will be maintained.

“Risk categorisation activity and decontamination of the pathology has been carried in collaboration with the Health Department and World Health Organisation (WHO) representatives on Thursday, July 16.

“Surveillance will be ongoing over the next two weeks and testing of more than 100 staff directly linked to pathology services have been carried out,” Dr Molumi said.

“Emergencies will continue, all elective surgeries will be put on hold until the situation permits.

Specialist treatment teams
“All emergency procedures and surgeries will be carried out according to individual cases as assessed by specialist treatment teams and SOP provided by the surgical, anesthetic and operating room specialists.

“All acutely ill patients coming through the emergency department will be triaged appropriately and rendered needful medical or surgical management in the wards,” he said.

“The labour ward will remain open for the duration of this emergency mode, however, some non-urgent antenatal and gyaenocological outpatient visits will be rescheduled or referred to other urban clinics in the city.”

Dr Molumi said all other essential services such as radiology, TB clinics, dental, physiotherapy, social work, Heduru, oncology and antenatal and general support services must maintain new normal safety practices for covid-19.

Grace Auka-Salmang is a PNG Post-Courier health reporter.

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