Papua New Guinea hospital expands Respiratory Isolation Ward
As the world continues to battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, Nazarene General Hospital (formerly Kudjip Nazarene Hospital) also continues to respond to the needs of the people in Papua New Guinea. Erin Meier, a Nazarene missionary who serves at NGH, shared this update.
On 5 March, we had six beds in our Respiratory Isolation Ward and our first COVID-19 patient. Since we opened our Respiratory Isolation Ward and started to receive patients, the flow of patients has not stopped. The number of patients is increasing even if there is fear in coming to the hospital. About two weeks after we opened up our first Respiratory Isolation Ward, we found ourselves starting to outgrow the six beds and we needed more.
We moved out of our old laboratory in our Hospital Expansion Project and talked about using that space for our tuberculosis ward as we tore down the old hospital. The maintenance team worked to open the space and made room for beds. In a short period of time, they enabled us to put 14 beds in the old lab. As we put the old lab to use, we found that we needed to expand further because we were almost full.
There were 11 patients in our Respiratory Isolation Ward one afternoon and we had two people waiting for their results. We weren’t sure what would happen if we had more patients come in overnight and ran out of room. We looked at various options between Nazarene General Hospital and Jiwaka Province Isolation Centers. Then we realized that just behind the old lab was our old pediatric ward.
The old pediatric ward was used as a storage facility during the Hospital Expansion Project. The ward was almost empty since the project finished. But there was still work to do to convert the room into an additional Respiratory Isolation Ward. Our cleaners and maintenance team worked hard to make things happen. In a short time, they were able to create a space for 16 more beds for our Respiratory Isolation Ward.
All the beds we had were used, but thankfully the hospital had spare mattresses. We used cinder blocks, pallets, and door frames to make beds with our mattresses. The team continues to improve the area to add more green space and another toilet for our patients.
We received new oxygen concentrators from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). All the oxygen concentrators we have are being used in the hospital and the first Respiratory Isolation Ward, so having more made the expansion possible. As we get more patients, we will continue to need more oxygen capacity in concentrators or cylinders and trust that they will be provided as we need them, just like these.
We will continue to use our old lab as our Respiratory Isolation Ward 1 and the old pediatric ward as our Respiratory Isolation Ward 2 for those patients who are getting better and closer to going home. This will enable us to care for 30 patients with COVID at one time.