Monday, February 23, 2009

Don't lose golden opportunity


Xiangya, China


I REFER to the report “Doctors attacked” (The National, Feb 17).

I am shocked and ashamed of the incident.

As a local medical doctor from Hela studying overseas, it truly saddens me to read of such a barbaric attack on foreign medical volunteers who have, in the last few months, devoted their time, skills, effort and expertise for free to provide valuable medical care to the people of Hela.

Such medical health services had been missing for the last 15 years.

I condemn the hospital security guard for attacking hospital staff.

Before Tari Hospital had Dr Bravy Koensong as CEO and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) volunteers, my mum would call me to ask what drugs to prescribe for patients when she was on-call at the hospital.

We had patients not only from the Hela region but also from Mendi, Hagen, Wabag, Kudjip and even Goroka.

Before I came to Xiangya, China, to further my studies, I had to treat all sorts of problems, ranging from medical to paediatric to gynaecological and obstetrics.

The situation has now improved with the presence of the CEO and MSF volunteers.

We had been crying out for services and now that we have them, please look after them.

Such golden opportunity comes only once.

How can we guarantee the safety of our local doctors and those from overseas?

This is a serious question and the leaders of Hela must think carefully.

We cannot afford to have such “attitude” problems.

As a medical professional from the Hela region, I would like to convey my sincere apology to the MSF team.

I also would like to congratulate them for the job well done so far.

The incident did not really show the true colours of the people of Hela.

I hope this incident will not drive the MSF team away.

The people of Hela are behind the team.

Finally, the culprit must face the full force of the law.


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