(RNZI – POM) – The prevalence of Covid-19 among staff at Papua New Guinea’s main hospital has eased.
Port Moresby General’s wards and staff were overwhelmed by a steep increase in cases of the virus in PNG’s capital in March.
The hospital had to suspend some services, while a new field hospital at the Taurama Aquatic Centre was established to help handle the cases.
The CEO of Port Moresby General, Paki Molumi, said at that point seventy percent of patients presenting were infected.
“Many of our staff got infected from the community as well as the hospital. Two hundred and forty of our staff (out of a total of 1636).
“In the last two weeks, we’ve had no new infections, so now we’ve got our full staff back at their work stations after isolation,” Dr Molumi said.
Health workers continue to undergo screening for Covid-19, with Dr Molumi saying the hospital was putting only fit, younger staff on the frontline.
He said that there were currently 50 patients being treated for Covid-19 in isolation at Port Moresby General and the field hospital.
Meanwhile, the rate of confirmed cases as announced by the National Pandemic Response Controller has slowed, as PNG’s number of confirmed cases passed 11-thousand.
However testing is limited, with only around 94-thousand tests conducted so far in a population of over eight million – health authorities say community transmission of the virus remains widespread.
While the country’s nationwide rollout of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine kicked off this week, frontline healthworkers in Port Moresby were offered vaccination since late March.
But Dr Molumi admitted that vaccine hesitancy had hampered progress, and that this was a big concern.
According to him 70 percent of doctors, or 151 of them, have been vaccinated, but only 48 of roughly 800 nurses in their staff had consented to getting the shot.
“Many of them are not sure. They need more information on the vaccine. Many of them are believing in misinformation that’s on social media,” Dr Molumi explained.
He said the hospital and the Health Ministry were continuing with efforts to give nurses and other health workers clear and accurate information.