THE PNG Government is trying to resolve the two-day-old dispute with nurses, with the departments of finance, personnel management and treasury told to do something.
Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Jelta Wong said he had told Health secretary Dr Osborne Liko to come up with a solution with the secretaries of the other three departments.
“I have instructed (Dr Liko) as the principal facilitator for the welfare of the health sector workers to liaise with the secretaries for the departments of personnel management, finance and treasury to resolve this outstanding matter,” he said.
“This is an administrative matter and with patience it will be fully resolved.
“Our collective effort is needed to save people’s health as well as appreciating the work of the nurses around the country.”
Wong said nurses were on the frontline keeping the people healthy and safe.
“Our country is in the middle of a terrible pandemic and if your services are withdrawn even for a few hours, it will be damaging to the health of our people,” he said.
“The duties undertaken daily (by the nurses) are often rigorous and laden with risks and the government recognizes that this vital sector needs to be acknowledged and appreciated.”
He said the Marape-led Government had approved the 2021-2023 awards for nurses.
He said the new remuneration for nurses was supposed to take effect on January 1 but it was yet to be undertaken by the enabling departments.
The National confirmed with nurses representatives in New Ireland, East Sepik, West Sepik, Western Highlands, Enga and Western that they had joined the nurses in Port Moresby and Lae in the sit-in protest.
PNG Nurses Association president Frederick Kebai said they did not want to disrupt health services and had advised chief executive officers of hospitals and provincial health authorities to draw up skeleton rosters.