Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Zibe: Work with health volunteers



HEALTH and HIV/AIDS Minister Sasa Zibe has condemned attacks on two Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) volunteers working at the Tari Hospital in Southern Highlands province last weekend, The National reports.

Mr Zibe called on the community in Tari to respect the work of MSF volunteers and other development partners and local workers striving to bring much-needed health services to the area.

“I will not hesitate to close the hospital if such unethical behaviours against our health workers continue,” Mr Zibe warned.

He also called on community leaders to deal with law and order problems and “educate their people to cooperate, respect and work with development partners and our national doctors and nurses”.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Zibe met with MFS head of mission Marc Galinier to convey his apologies on behalf of the Government and people of PNG for the senseless behaviour of a drunkard.

Tari hospital chief executive officer Dr Bravy Koensong confirmed yesterday that the community was contributing money to fix the damaged MFS vehicle,

He said the people would also slaughter pigs and say sorry to the doctors.

Tari police said the offender had been arrested and charged.

Mr Galinier would travel to Tari today to meet with a reconciliation party.

He said while MSF appreciated the gesture as a step forward to have the volunteers back in the district hospital, he would also inform the community that the volunteers would not accept any cash or material goods.

“We do not want to promote stigmatisation and discrimination from this incident, although it is sad for all of us that this happened.

“Whatever is given as gifts to us, we will tell the community that they could instead donate them to unfortunate members of the community,” Mr Galinier said.

He said the team was prepared to go back to Tari, but he would advise them on when to do so when he returned to Port Moresby.

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