Papua New Guinea serves community amid second COVID-19 wave
Nazarene General Hospital in Kudjip, Papua New Guinea, is battling its second wave of COVID-19 cases.
In just a month, 140 patients have been diagnosed, and the Respiratory Isolation Ward has had as many as 22 patients in it at once. The hospital plans to have additional isolation wards in order to admit as many as 40 patients who need oxygen as they fight to recover from the virus.
The hospital had its first COVID-19 case in March 2021, and the outbreak lasted for a few months. By the end of June, the COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital paused. During the first wave, there were over 120 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, and 70 of them were admitted to the Respiratory Isolation Ward. The hospital added 24 more beds to the ward’s original six in a span of a few weeks as the number of cases increased.
“We thank God that before the second wave came, NGH was able to start vaccinating over half of its staff and high-risk patients,” said Dr. Erin Meier. “This gave them some protection as they fight to win the battle against COVID-19. Some of the staff who were infected had only mild illnesses and no one needed hospitalization.”
During this time, the staff figured out their limitations in treating COVID-19 cases. They could provide oxygen but they had no ventilators or trained staff to run them. They have some medicines but they don’t have advanced treatment options that other parts of the world can provide.
The staff was glad to have their break from COVID-19 from June until August. However, they knew it would come back and would double its impact because of the more contagious Delta variant that is rapidly spreading across the world.
The hospital has been struggling to maintain all of its services due to lack of manpower and has scaled down its services to emergency only. Hospital leaders are hopeful that more of their staff recover and rejoin the workforce.