Port Moresby (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea continues its commitment to offer prevention and awareness programs against Covid throughout the Country. Thanks to the support of the Secretariat of the Catholic Health Service (CHSS) and Caritas Australia, Catholic health facilities in the nation - a sector that makes up 70% of the entire national health system - have started receiving personal protective equipment (PPE). "Our Catholic health facilities employ over 250 health workers on the front line in the fight against COVID-19", reports Graham Apian, Program Manager of CHSS, in a note sent to Agenzia Fides by the Commission for Social Communications of the Bishops' Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. "Many are committed to serving villages and communities in poorly equipped and remote conditions", the manager said.
"The recent increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown have mobilized our staff to make sure that face masks and other necessary materials such as gowns and gloves have are sent so that healthcare workers and the communities they serve can be protected to the maximum",said Roslyn Kuniata, head of the quality and effectiveness program at Caritas Australia.
Charlotte Vada, Caritas Australia's disaster management coordinator, said COVID-19 response plans have been extended until December due to the alarming increase in local cases. "Our response plan includes among others the training of school leaders in the provinces and the distribution of materials to each of our Catholic schools, which make up a quarter of the total number of schools in PNG", she added.
The Secretariat for Catholic Health Services oversees 233 health facilities ranging from district hospitals to relief facilities across PNG and which make up a significant portion of the country's total health facilities.
The Joint COVID-19 Response Plan is shared between the Catholic Bishops' Conference, Caritas PNG and Caritas Australia. It entered into force in April and has so far provided for the distribution of hygiene kits to vulnerable groups, the training of diocese personnel in the provinces and that of Catholic students for the production and dissemination of awareness materials. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 5/9/2020)