15 Aug 2005

PNG hospital services suffer from ash fallout

7:02 pm on 15 August 2005

A hospital in Papua New Guinea's East New Britain is calling on the provincial government to solve the hospital's ongoing battle with ashfall from the Tavurvur volcano.

An eruption by Tavurvur destroyed the town of Rabaul ten years ago and it has continued to emit ash intermittently ever since.

The medical services director at the province's Nonga Base General hospital, Dr Samson Arua, says the wind has been blowing ashfall directly towards the hospital since late last year.

He says they have had to scale back hospital services, despite the daily influx of patients from rural areas.

Dr Arua says the ashfall is affecting everyone at the hospital.

"Especially in the theatre intensive care unit and also the outpatients area and aircondition in the wards where air condition has been installed, we keep having breakdown with the airconditioning. And with the patients, most of the time its pneumonia and chest infection."

The Medical services director at Nonga Base General hospital, Dr Samson Arua