The hospital had been shut down about eight months ago following the onslaught of tribal fights in the Porgera valley that had threatened the safety of hospital workers and the operations of the hospital.
EPHA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Elvis Japhlet and team visited Porgera on Thursday March 2, accompanied by Paiam hospital Medical Superintendent, Dr. Jerry Hoga and representatives from the United Nations (UN).
When addressing the public at Porgera station, Dr Japhlet said the hospital will be reopened after completion of general maintenance and cleaning up of the hospital facilities including staff houses.
Whilst thanking the local communities for looking after the asset, he also cautioned that if the tribal conflicts reoccur and the hospital properties are damaged or destroyed, it will be shut down permanently.
“The onus is on the surrounding community for the hospital to run. I am announcing that we will open the hospital but if you cause issues again and damage the hospital, I will close it for good. So the responsibility for the hospital to function is on you”, Dr Japhlet said.
The anticipated hospital reopening is part of ongoing restoration efforts that have been undertaken by volunteer group, Porgera Law and Order Crisis Management Committee (PL&OCMC), to bring back normalcy into Porgera in the aftermath of the tribal conflicts.
In February, the Porgera Urban Clinic resumed the provision of health services to the public, and several schools resumed operations while banking services recommenced yesterday at Paiam with the opening of the BSP branch.
Barrick Niugini Limited’s Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Timothy Andambo speaking on behalf of the PL&OCMC and the Restoring Justice Initiative reassured the hospital staff that the tribal fighting has ended and people are in desperate need of health services.
“You can see in the public that normalcy is returning…We had worked on the ‘Cease Fire’ process and this has been effected since September last year,” Mr Andambo said.
“September up until now, it is a long period of time that the Porgerans can stop fight as tradition is that when Porgerans quit fighting, they completely stop.”
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