Today marks the 5th year straight at the St John Ambulance Service of PNG (SJA) as the Honorary Chief Medical Director. No allowances, no payments, no problems! I have passionately enjoyed, and shall continue on. It is an honor to be involved in community service all for the sake of humanity. The reward you get from saving one's life is invaluable.
I am paid by the Government of PNG as the Chief of Emergency Medicine at the National Department of Health to run Emergency Medical Services in PNG. The greatest barrier has been linking the hospitals to the communities. Rapid response to the ill and the injured, process them in a timely & professional manner, transport them to the hospitals and yet maintain a high level of care. That bridge has been rectified over the 5 ensuing years, and now we are working towards achieving the goal of establishing National Ambulance Service by year 2030.
It is the first few seconds and minutes that determine the outcome, both mortality (death) and morbidity (disability). Deaths and disabilities can be prevented through appropriate timely interventions. Our friends at SJA do exactly that. They provide optimum pre-hospital care (PHC), which is an extension of Emergency care at the Emergency Departments. In fact, provision of PHC and transportation of the critically ill and injured are part of Emergency Medicine care, which happens outside of the hospital setting. We need to do more to save lives, not only in the hospitals but through deliberate work in partnership with PHC providers.
As the custodian of Emergency Medicine service delivery in PNG, I call on the Government to provide the necessary and adequate funding to them. I also seek support from NCDC and other Provincial Governments whereby we are establishing bases to ensure funding is provided. We are dealing with lives, let us put money where lives matter the most directly. While appreciating our other partners, I seek more continuum support from you all.
Christmas period is about the right time when the casemix loads go up, and we anticipate more calls. If our response capacity is compromised due to funding constraints, it will certainly be disastrous. On the other note, people must be very vigilant and conscious of their actions and the potential consequences ahead. Armed with the necessary information that help not be forthcoming, you need to maintain restrain in some of those actions that may endanger you. Be prepared to pay yourselves in the worst case scenario.
Thank you SJA, the Green Angels. Special thanks to CEO Commissioner Matt Cannon. You are such a brilliant workhaulic man.
God bless PNG.
Dr. Sam Yockopua, MB. BS, DA, MMed(EM)
Honorary Chief Medical Director
St John Ambulance of PNG
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