Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ipatas wants inquiry into Enga hospital

Source: Highlands Post, Post Courier, October 24, 2011

The two men responsible for the health of Enga Province, Governor Peter Ipatas and Wabag General Hospital CEO Salan Eri, are at loggerheads on the construction of a new Provincial Hospital.
Governor Ipatas went to the extreme of calling Mr Eri, a long time Health Extension Officer, unqualified and has called for a Commission of Inquiry to be conducted into the operations of the hospital.
Mr Eri welcomed the call and wants the CoI to be broadened to include operations of the Provincial Government.
While Governor Ipatas has gone ahead against Mr Eri’s advice for the construction of the new hospital away from its existing location, the CEO expressed his concern on the lack of support the Wabag General Hospital received.
Mr Eri claimed that since he terminated a former CEO 0f the hospital, who now coordinates work on the proposed hospital with Ipatas some years back, the provincial government ceased supporting the hospital.
Mr Ipatas called for the suspension of Mr Eri and a Commission of Inquiry to be conducted.
The CEO welcomed inquiry and said those who conducted the CoI should also look into the operations of the Provincial Government and find out how much Ipatas has supported the hospital all those years.
Mr Eri said: “My books are open. I welcome any CoI or any audit team. It will only be a witch-hunt simply to serve his (Ipatas) interest. They should see how much Ipatas supports the hospital, which is serving the people of Enga right now,” the CEO said.
He said Mr Ipatas has to come out publicly and say how much he gives to the hospital.
“I’ve been opposing the idea of developing the new hospital outside of the existing facility.
“As a public servant and head of this hospital, I have to provide sound advice to Ipatas and his team. My sound advice was never to move the hospital outside of Wabag town.
“I have always opposed this idea of moving the hospital because of security reasons and accessibility by patients. Why does he want the hospital to be built in his village? The new roads, bridge and land compensation to his tribesmen alone will cost millions of kinas. For convenience sake, the hospital can’t sit in the bush, ”Mr Eri said.
He said Mr Ipatas’s claims that doctors were leaving the hospital were baseless and only indicated that the governor was not aware of the operations of the hospital.
Mr Eri said he was a qualified Health Extension Officer with more than 30 years of experience in the health sector and to be called unqualified was a mockery.
He said many hospitals in the country had nursing officers, HEOs and even people outside the medical field as CEOs, which he added was a managerial position and not meant for doctors as Mr Ipatas perceived.
Mr Ipatas has openly opposed Mr Eri and blamed him for the rundown health services, overcrowding in the wards and claimed that many doctors left the hospital because Eri was not qualified.
The Wabag General Hospital has nine doctors.
A visiting ophthalmological (eye) team into Wabag recently expressed their grave concern on the poor stage of health services in the rural areas of Enga Province.

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