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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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Angau Hospital Stops Services After Nurse’s Rape In PNG
Staff give authorities 48 hours to apprehend alleged suspects

By Pisai Gumar

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 19, 2013) – In Papua New Guinea, angry staff and management have stopped services at the Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae as the rape of a staff nurse brought to a head constant ill-treatment of staff and equipment.

The staff has given management, police and the community, where the rapists allegedly reside, 48 hours to apprehend the four youths responsible for raping one of their colleagues.

Hospital administration lambasted the cruelty of some in the community, describing their behavior as "animalistic."

"Enough is enough!" hospital board chairman Benson Nablu declared. "The hospital gates will be closed until the suspects surrender to police."

Hospital chief executive Dr. Polapoi Chalau said: "I am sick and tired of such inhuman attitude and strongly condemn their cruel attitude."

As a result of Saturday night’s rape, the hospital had locked out some patients and closed gates to the hospital.

The hospital’s management, doctors, union executives, nurses and Lae School of Nursing teachers, students and staff are demanding justice and closed off services too yesterday.

About 500 people in all stopped work and protested at the Gware Memorial wing, highlighting the constant cruel and inhuman treatment of health workers.

They wanted the hospital management, police and the East Taraka community to bring the suspects to face the full force of law within 48 hours. The incident took place at East Taraka at about 4am last Saturday.

Hospital union president Steven Nawik said the suspects must surrender or be apprehended and detained within 48 hours as staff had demanded.

"The admitted patients and outpatients now pay the price – being turned away from treatment due to the culprits’ cruel behavior," Nawik said.

Three hospital entrances were locked yesterday and were closely monitored by security guards. There were more outpatients outside and they had to resort to private clinics for treatment.

Car thefts, breaking and entering, theft and burgling of valuable items from doctors and nurses and stoning of hospital vehicles during nightshift drop-offs and pick-ups have been constantly experienced by staff.

They were simply fed up and wanted the community to take responsibility. Warnings by the authorities to respect state property, facility and servants had fallen on deaf ears.

Nablu and Chalau appeared before the staff and workers yesterday.

"I am angry with those culprits – stupid and idiots – who have no respect for the tireless and dedicated health workers. They continue to harass them," Nablu said.

"She (rape victim) is psychologically traumatized and physically affected; her family and relatives are devastated.

"The public in Lae continues to disrespect state properties and services such as hospital, water and electricity (supplies) that are here as services for human.

"I am sick and tired of such inhuman attitude and strongly condemn the cruel attitudes.

"The East Taraka community is responsible, they must assist police to bring the suspects to justice while families of the suspects should be evicted.

"The health workers and Lae communities are fed up of such cruel, animalistic attitudes and the behaviour of perpetrators that commit such crime on innocent humans.

"Let us rise up and tell the government enough is enough," Nablu said.

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