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Catholic Health Australia injects $ 270,000 into Caritas PPE fund in PNG as coronavirus cases rise – Catholic leader

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CATHOLIC Health Australia members said they will match Caritas Australia funds to bring the total amount raised to over $ 500,000 to fight COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea.

He reached an immediate injection of $ 270,000 earmarked for the urgent delivery of personal protective equipment to remote areas.

At the start of the pandemic in March last year, Caritas Australia bought PPE worth $ 250,000 and partnered with Caritas PNG to distribute to 19 dioceses, which reached 235 health facilities and about 1,462 health workers.

CCHS PNG program manager Graham Apian said the help was much needed.

There is a lot of uncertainty and fear about COVID-19 leading to community discrimination, Mr Apian said.

Donations: Workers move PPE-filled boxes to PNG health workers.
Donations: Workers move PPE-filled boxes to PNG health workers.

We have seen disruptions in the normal supply of goods and services. The health facilities we have will be forced to close if there is a shortage of PPE.

PNG faces a potentially catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak, with nearly 100 new cases reported each day.

On March 25, 2021, 551 new cases were confirmed, bringing the country to a total of 4,660 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

However, the numbers are thought to be significantly higher than this and the situation is expected to worsen.

There is currently a shortage of tests available as well as long waiting times to get test results, which means there are far more active cases than reported.

Australian Catholic President John Watkins AM said the PPE would be supplied and distributed to PNG as soon as possible to protect health workers serving their communities.

Many workers are now infected and are in quarantine which is affecting health services, Mr Watkins said.

We desperately need to get PPE in remote areas, including items like triage medical tents, which are built to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transfer.

The Australian Government has allocated 8,000 AstraZeneca vaccines, along with EPPs and medical specialists for PNG.

: But while this support is welcome, we know there is also a large gap in the resources of areas outside Port Moresby.

The Catholic Church Health Services Network in PNG reaches over 70 percent of the population, including many rural and remote areas.

We have a unique capacity to help and demonstrate our compassion in action.

I want to thank the CHA members and their company boards who contributed so generously to this important and saving donation.

We are all inspired by the Gospel story of the Good Samaritan, and this is a fitting example of him at work.

Fighting Infection: Children practice hand washing as a means of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Fighting Infection: Children practice hand washing as a means of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

The money raised by CHA goes to the Health Services of the Catholic Church, which is the health commission under the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

CCHS will prioritize the distribution of PPE and any other support to the provinces with the highest COVID-19 rates.

To date, all of St. John of God Health Care, St. Vincents Health Australia, Villa Maria Catholic Homes, Australian Ursulines, Mary’s Small Care Company (Calvar), the Mater Group, and CHA itself have contributed.

In the next phase of the partnership, Caritas Australia will also work with CCHS to support community awareness of prevention and vaccination messages, training of local staff, support for rapid COVID-19 testing and necessary medical equipment.

Donations are organized through Caritas Australia, which has worked at PNG for decades and has long-standing field partnerships, including CCHS.

We have worked with local communities and church partners at PNG for over 50 years and know from experience that local people are more determined to respond to crises because they understand the context and challenges, said Caritas Australia Executive Officer Kirsty Robertson.

Approximately half of the schools and health facilities in Papua New Guinea are church run, which means that working through existing Church networks such as the Catholic Church Health Services is one of the most effective ways to get help where it is most needed.

Church partners are also able to counter misinformation about COVID-19 because of the trust they have built with local communities.

I am happy to see that CHA has been able to utilize the network of churches here in Australia to help us support our closest neighbors in PNG.

This means that we can work together in common faith to achieve the most marginalized and the most vulnerable.



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