Thousands Of Papua New Guineans Seek Treatment On Medical Ship

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Long queues greeted patients at Chinese vessel Peace Ark

By Nellie Setepano

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 17, 2014) – Thousands of Port Moresby residents yesterday morning queued up for hours within the PNG Defence Force landing craft base to seek medical treatment about the Chinese medical ship Peace Ark.

The Peace Ark, berthing at Port Moresby’s main wharf, coincided with Papua New Guinea’s 39th Independence Day celebrations. The ship, which has arrived last Thursday and has opened its hospital doors to the public since Friday will close its service today. Five to seven hours wait was not a waste of time for those who received treatment.

Two sisters, who arrived from Waigani, as early as 7am on Friday, waited almost whole day to get into the ship. They say the waiting consumed hours but the checks inside the Peace Ark was swift and efficient. Both, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they were grateful for the services provided by the medical ship.

They said they received instant results. For instance, one went to check for a chest ache and was diagnosed after being x-rayed while the other had her eyes checked at the eye clinic.

Another, considering herself privileged as a business woman and owner of a private hospital in Port Moresby, Janet Sios felt sad standing with hundreds of people that early Friday morning to enter the ship.

She used that day as an experience but the long wait made her feel sorry for the hundreds behind her in the queue.

"If our government built our hospital to this standard, employed best doctors, invest in our people to be best medical officers, then we would not be so desperate to get such medical services from our Chinese friends," Mrs Sios said.

"I truly felt for our people. I strongly urged our government to seek assistance from the Chinese Government to build a hospital like this so majority of people can access services. As an advocator for people living with disability and better health for our people I feel that our government owes us this basic service."

"Any government in the world provides basic needs for its people, otherwise they should not govern," she said.

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