MORE than 250 nurses serving in Eastern Highlands have petitioned the provincial health authority to meet their list of demands.
The petition was presented through the Nurses association branch in Goroka to Eastern Highlands Provincial Health Authority (EHPHA) chief executive officer Dr Joseph Apa.
The petition was presented by nurses, community health workers, health extension officers and middle managers.
Eastern Highlands Nurses association branch president Nocksy Gunere said nurses were frontline workers in battling the Covid-19 pandemic and needed to be protected.
He said they already lost two members to the Covid-19 and 17 were isolation.
“We need personal protective equipment (PPEs) and preparedness to be in place with the support of the PHA which is currently non-existence,” Gunere said.
Nurses from the eight districts, including those from the Goroka Provincial Hospital, petitioned the hospital management to address their overdue salary awards.
They petitioned for their outstanding awards to be settled by the PHA as well as a staff insurance policy because of the heightened risk as frontliners in the battle against Covid-19.
Gunere said the nurses were yet to receive their outstanding 25 per cent shift allowances, special domestic marketing allowance and compensation approved under the PHA structure.
“We are now in a life and death situation, EHPHA would have no choice but to listen to the petition and help because two nurses died from the Covid-19 and 17 are in isolation,” he said.
One of the deceased worked as a community health worker at Nupuru Health Centre in Lufa and the other worked in Goroka town’s Lopi Urban Clinic.
Dr Apa blamed the lack of communication between the management and the Nurses Union for the delay in payments.
He assured the nurses that their petition would be addressed.
He said the safety and well-being of all health workers was important and the PHA would work to ensure they were equipped and protected to do their jobs.
Dr Apa said his office would negotiate with the Health Department and Nurses Union to get their salary awards addressed.
Department of Personnel Management secretary Taies Sansan in circular instruction 5 of 2021 dated Feb 17 directed for the implementation of the nursing officers industrial awards.
The National / PNG Health News
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