Medical personnel seriously lacking in Papua

JUBI, 2 April 2012

Taking into account the vastness of the territory of the Province of Papua, there is a serious shortage of medical personnel here. Moreover, the ratio between the number of medical personnel and the number of hospitals and clinics is also far too low.

‘If you take into account the number of hospitals, clinics and medical centres, I reckon that the shortage of medical personnel amounts to as much as 2,700,’ said the Head of the Provincial Medical Services in Papua, Josef Rinta Rachatmaka.

He said that as a way of reducing this shortage, the Provincial Medical Services intends, in co-ordination with the Agency for Personnel Education and Training in the Province of Papua, to look more closely at the data about healthcare personnel in the area.

‘On the basis of our present calculations, the number of healthcare personnel in Papua is very low indeed.. With 20 hospitals, 310 clinics and 760 healthcare centres, we need a further 2,700 medical personnel,’ he said. He said in particular that there was a need for more medical personnel in the medical health centres that are spread right across the territory.

He said that the shortage would become even more acute if new hospitals were built. The medical personnel includes the number of doctors, midwives, dieticians and so on. The key factor in any healthcare provision is that there is the right number of personnel. However many medicaments and however much money is available, if there are not enough personnel, then nothing will function properly. While agreeing that there are enough facilities, the most important thing is to have enough medical personnel. ‘Many of the facilities we have here are standing empty.’

He went on to say that whenever there are plans to build new hospitals, if the personnel are simply taken from those at the already existing facilities, this would only lead to a further lack of personnel. He said that they plan to open up new diploma courses for nurses, midwives and dieticians.’We very much hope that, as new healthcare facilities are built, there will be a sufficient number of personnel and not continue with the situation as it is at present.’

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

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