Port Moresby: Catholic Health facilities across the country have finally began receiving the much-needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) from Caritas Australia and the Catholic Health Service Secretariat (CHSS). The supply is a part of the Catholic Church’s Covid-19 Joint Response Plan funded by the Church Partnership Program.
The Catholic Health Services Secretariat oversees 233 heath facilities ranging from District Hospitals to Aid Posts throughout PNG, making up a significant portion of the country’s total health facilities.
As part of the church’s response to Covid-19, K500,000 worth of PPEs were purchased from a reputed supplier to distribute to the facilities and help boost their preparedness against the deadly virus.
Graham Apian, Program Manager of CHSS, stated that supply would go a long way toward supporting the dedicated efforts of its health workers situated throughout the country. “Our Catholic Health facilities employ over 250 health workers who are or will become the front line in our fight against covid-19. Many are serving communities in under-equipped and difficult conditions and the much-needed PPEs will be a welcome addition to their limited resources,” he said.
Echoing his sentiments, Caritas Australia’s Program Quality and Effectiveness Manager, Roslyn Kuniata, said that health services were vital, especially during a global pandemic. “The recent spike in confirmed covid-19 cases and the subsequent lockdown invigorated our staff to make sure that necessary PPEs like gowns, masks and gloves were sent this week so that health workers and communities they serve can be better protected,” she said.
Charlotte Vada, Disaster Management Coordinator of Caritas Australia, said Covid-19 response plans extended through to December due to the alarming rise in local cases. “Our response plan runs through to December and upcoming activities include the training of Head Teachers in priority provinces and the distribution of IEC materials to each of our Catholic Schools, which make up one-quarter of the total number of schools in PNG,” she added.
The Covid-19 Joint Response Plan is shared between the Catholic Bishops Conference, Caritas PNG and Caritas Australia. It came into effect in April, and has seen the implementation of activities such as the distribution of hygiene kits to vulnerable groups, risk communication training for key diocese staff in priority provinces, and the training of Catholic students to produce awareness materials through a series of media seminars.
Credit: Ambrose Pereira