Social Concerns Notes – May 2014


Labour ward overcrowded

Post Courier, 5 May 2014

Sixty-five babies were delivered on Thursday night at the Port Moresby General Hospital, the second highest so far this year. By 2pm on Friday, when this reporter was taken through the labour ward and post natal ward, many of the women and their babies were still being cleared, either to go home or be given a bed. Sister in-charge of the labour ward Alice Baira said in previous years, the hospital was delivering 40 to 45 babies in one day, but there were about 55 babies being born now, and Thursday’s 65 is the second time the ward delivered this number so far. Sr Baira said the ratio of mums to one nurse was 1:8, while the World Health Organisation requirement was 1:3.


Maternity ward in need

The National, 20 May 2014

THE maternity ward at the Port Moresby General Hospital has declared a state of emergency because of pressure on its resources, an official says.
Head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Prof Glen Mola said the ward had been under a lot of pressure after the Government introduced the free health care policy. 
It has recorded a rise in the number of women in labour coming to the ward.
“When the policy was introduced last year, about 15,000 women came to deliver their babies and the number is still growing.  In fact the service was out-stretched at that time,” Mola said.
“There were not enough beds, and many had to wait for 10 to 20 minutes for a bed to be made available. Some women delivered on the floor because the beds were not available when they were ready to deliver their babies.”
Mola said about 10% of women delivered unassisted because there were not enough nurses around.
The report made by the nursing director last year stated that staffing levels were only 52% of what should have been provided to meet 
PNG nursing standards for care of women in labour.
“The increasing number of women coming has put a strain on medical supplies. Last week, we ran out of oxytocin, the medicine that all women receive after giving birth to prevent excessive bleeding,” Mola said.
“The week before we ran out of injection which we use to reduce the blood pressure in women with dangerous high blood pressure in labour.
“Lack of these vital medicines will undoubtedly lead to unnecessary maternal deaths in our national referral hospital. At the same time rates of babies dying during pregnancy and labour has increased.”
 “Free service is one thing, but available quality service is quite another thing. If there is no available service or available service is low quality then free service does not benefit any one,” he said.


Nurses drained by govt policy

Post Courier, 9 May 2014

The increase in demand for health services is being seen in all areas of health, including the children’s outpatient department at the Port Moresby General Hospital. Bonnie Hurai, senior paediatric nurse at the hospital, said her team was previously seeing only referred cases, but this time it seems patients were coming straight from home. As a result, she said, health workers were seeing 200 to 300 patients a day while in the past, there were about 100. “We can’t turn the children away because they are sick,’’ said Sr Hurai, who was speaking at a press conference on the International Nurses Day, organised by the PNG Nurses Association. “It’s just too much for us. We don’t go for breaks and go home at about five o’clock.’’


Philippine nurses to help out at PMGH

Post Courier 16 May, 2014

THIRTY-one nurses from the Philippines who are being recruited by Port Moresby General Hospital to help alleviate the pressure on hospital staff arrived in the country yesterday. They are part of the first batch of 50 nurses that the hospital plans to bring into the country. “It is an exciting time for health care, as these nurses arrive to compliment the hard working and competent PNG nurses working at the hospital. These ‘extra hands’ will assist in taking some of the burden off the nurses they are currently experiencing due to a national nurse shortage,” said Mr Muddle.

He said the nurses were to work in all areas of the hospital and have a range of specialised skills to enable them to work in the operating threatre, intensive care unit, critical care unit, in obstetrics, gynaecology and midwifery. Meanwhile, Mr Grant said five more nurses will arrive from abroad on Saturday and a further 14 in the coming weeks. This will make it up to a total of 50 in the first batch.


Westpac finances company accused of land grabs, says Oxfam

LEADING Australian banks are financing companies accused of land grabbing, child labour and illegal logging, according to an Oxfam report released today. The report, Banking on Shaky Ground, identifies four cases in Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Brazil where Australia’s biggest banks have funded – directly or indirectly – companies accused of improperly or illegally acquiring land from local people.

Oxfam’s chief executive Helen Szoke said, “There is a gap between what the big four banks say they do and what they actually do,” she said. “We think there is a real problem around due diligence – around them actually focusing on their investment practices and making sure they put their money where their mouth is, in terms of ethical and sustainable investment practices in these agricultural businesses overseas.”


Locals claim logging polluting waterways

Post Courier, 28 April 2014

MORE than 1000 people in New Ireland Province might be affected as their only water source is being polluted by logging operations in the area, they claim. It is understood that the New Ireland Provincial Government has ordered a team to investi-gate the environmental damages. Several locals who have written to the Post-Courier stated that the other sources of water they use for their daily needs have already been affected and the last one, at Rubio plantation, is their only means for their daily use.

One of the signed letters by seven clan representatives read: “Currently this is the last water source in the community since the logging company has damaged the rest. This was the only water source that served ward 14 and neighbouring villages during the 1997 drought.” According to American Shane Clark, who has been vocal on the logging company’s operations into the area, “When the people in the area complained to the logging company and the landowner company (Basoma Ltd), no one cared,” Mr Clark said. “When they complained to the police who are based with the loggers, no one listened. When they burned one of the bulldozers, they got arrested. When they tried to put up a gorgor, they were threatened with arrest. This seems to be a common scenario that is being repeated. Only the logging companies seem to have rights. Where are our rights as citizens?”


Porgera in strife

Post Courier, 29 April, 2014

The Government has declared a state of emergency in Porgera, Enga Province.

Over a hundred policemen and soldiers from Port Moresby and Mt Hagen are already on the ground in the mining township, Highlands Divisional Commander Teddy Tei said yesterday. The rapid increase in uncontrollable illegal mining activities within the mine lease area and other law and order issues in the valley has prompted the state of emergency. Killings on the streets of Porgera town have become common, resulting in tribal fights and the closure of the Highlands Highway leading into the valley.

Business houses and government departments also had to shut down as a result.

But as during the 2009 operation, sources on the ground say all illegal miners have already fled Porgera and will wait out the three-month period and return after the operation has finished.

In 2009, all illegal miners fled to their home provinces across the highlands region while the operation took place. But as things cooled down the miners gradually returned and  the number has increased since.


Bougainville combatants want to put respect in weapons disposal

29 April 2014.

SIGNED in Arawa on 30 August 2001, the Bougainville Peace Agreement formally ended the 10-year Bougainville civil war. The Agreement includes three major pillars for Bougainville to uphold until referendum on independence is held at some point between 2015 and 2020. The three pillars are autonomy, the referendum and weapons disposal. Those few former combatants who see the Third Pillar negatively believe that only the gun gave Bougainville the kind of respect it now has from Papua New Guinea and Bougainville Copper Limited. “Our land would have being for the PNG government and people if we did not take weapons and chase them out,” Chris Bitunau, a 1988-97 BRA fighter told me from Panguna. “So I do not and I will not destroy my stock of weapons since I value them as the means that halted the sedimentation from the Panguna mine and the colonisation by illegal PNG squatter settlers. “We cannot throw away our Bougainville history; the future generations have to see and feel these guns, they have to know the owners of these guns in pictures and in stories.”

“The UN and ABG should fund and built museums in each of north, central and south Bougainville,” Chris Bitunau told me, “and then get writers like you to collect our stories of the war. “They should ask questions like why we joined the BRA or BRF, what we did and how did we get our weapons and so on, and preserve the stories with our guns and photos in these museums for people to come and see and know what happened.


Hundreds at centre

The National, 29 April, 2014

THE Manus Island asylum processing centre now has 1,281 people for refugee processing, according to Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison.
The figure was updated last Saturday, with 1,177 people in Nauru and 1,405 in the Christmas Island facilities – Australia’s other two refugee sites.
“This statement provides an update on Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) activities related to the off-water reception and processing of illegal maritime arrivals,” Morrison said. 


A whopping 48 000 Grade 12 students

A whopping 48 000 Grade 12 students are estimated to pass out in the next two years.
 This was revealed by Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister Delilah Gore, during the opening of the St Peter Channel College for Secondary Teacher Education in Kokopo, East New Britain Province.
 Gore said that the number of Grade 12 school leavers would increase in the coming years and pathways into further education and training for productive employment needed to be established.
 Currently, only 4,500 students out of 18, 000 Grade 12 students every year are taken up by higher institutions every year while the rest looked elsewhere.
Gore said the ministry is looking at expanding the higher education sector to cater for this increased output from the lower education sector.
 She said that the establishment of the St Peter Channel College for Secondary Teacher Education paves the way for an increased number of teachers going into secondary and national high schools against the backdrop of increases in enrolments at the lower education sector.


Malaria threatens 90 percent of PNG

Post Courier, 1 May 2014

NINETY percent of Papua New Guinea’s seven million people are at risk of malaria infection.

Minster for Health and HIV AIDS revealed this frightening news, saying malaria is the leading cause for hospital admissions in PNG. “The figures are even higher than what is on record, and the burden falls on rural majority and urban poor,” said Mr Malabag. MrMalabag was speaking at a recent world malaria day celebration. He said everyday malaria affects all people, including the country’s economic productivity. It also causes premature deaths. The malaria control program supported by Global Fund against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria through round three grants and round eight grants from 2009-2013 has helped PNG gain some of the milestones. A recent study by the PNG Institute of Medical Research has found that approximately 65 percent of households surveyed owned a long lasting insecticide net and a little more than 90 percent of health centres studied were having the first line anti-malarial drugs in stock.


Churches Cautious on Salaries

Post Courier 1st May, 2014

CHURCHES are cautious of the Government’s offer to put the church health workers on its payroll, says Christian Health Services board chairman Wallace Kintak. But at the same time he says they welcome the Government’s decision to put church health workers on the same salary structure as its own health workers. “We welcome the Government decision to pay the salaries of our staff, but we don’t want to lose our autonomy of fire and recruitment of the staff and disciplinary issues,’’ says Mr Kintak. Unlike the government, churches are known for ensuring services are provided even if the conditions are not always good for the workers. Currently, Mr Kintak says 45 to 48 per cent of the total health services in the country is run by the churches and 80 per cent of the rural health services is run by the churches.


AusAID HIV Education and Prevention in Papua New Guinea: A Case of Too Much Pessimism?

By Cheryl Che, Ruth Tay and Stephen Howes on March 21, 2014

The Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE) released an evaluation of AusAID’s HIV program in Papua New Guinea in 2012. The report assesses the program between 2006 and 2010. As mentioned in our previous blog post, it paints a rather gloomy picture. What is particularly worrying is the finding that HIV education and prevention activities were largely ineffective. After taking a closer look at the evidence in the report, we find ODE’s evaluation to be inadequately based and perhaps overly pessimistic. The evaluation lacks sufficient evidence and explanation to substantiate such a strong claim. Perhaps AusAID deserves a little more credit than is implied by the ODE team. [For full article see the reference above]


Nothing to fear about 666 rumours

The National, 2 May 2014

 POLICE and the Education Department have hit out at people spreading false information about a Government-sponsored survey that forced the closure of some schools in Port Moresby this week.
Education secretary Dr Michael Tapo yesterday assured students, parents and teachers that there was nothing sinister at all in the survey by department officials to collect data on teachers and students.
He said the officials were using a smart technology machine called the “Access Management Control System” during the survey. The system was developed by the education department to monitor the enrollment of students and the attendance of teachers in schools daily.

Tapo condemned the actions of the parents who acted on rumours to assault the officials and subsequently disrupt classes.
Acting National Capital District metropolitan commander Supt Perou N’dranou warned people to stop spreading rumors that the students would have satanic marks on their bodies if they took part in the 


Power cuts force delay in surgeries

The National, 5 May 2014

POWER outages in Madang have led to the delay of major surgeries at the Modilon Hospital operating theatre.
A source from the hospital’s theatre said the standby generator could not power all the equipment needed to conduct major operations.
The labour ward reported that it was operating but nurses used torches to help with deliveries when power supply was delayed.
There were reports of detainees at Jomba prison escaping during the blackout last week.
PNG Power staff said they could not do much but switch off one part of the town to serve others because they had to be fair to customers.
 In the New Town area, power was off from 5am to 10pm for three days last week and caused frustration.
Lehu Tangal, a New Town resident, said she was forced to look for other means to cook her meals.
“I had to buy biscuits and cooked food from kai bars to feed my children and by the time power came on at 10pm, they were asleep and we have our cold meal in the morning,” Tangal said.


Stolen Logs 12 May

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has failed to shut down illegal logging operations in thirteen SABL areas despite receiving advice ten months ago that the leases are illegal. The Prime Minister was told the leases are illegal and received the recommendation they should be revoked in the report of the SABL Commission of Inquiry set up by O’Neill’s predecessor as Prime Minister, Sam Abal. The Commission findings were given to O’Neill in June 2013. By refusing to act on the Commission of Inquiry recommendations Peter O’Neill has become an accessory to the blatant theft of forest resources. O’Neill’s illegal logging is currently* taking place in thirteen SABL areas across six Provinces and involves 12 foreign owned logging companies.

Here is the latest data on who, where and how much is being stolen:**

West Sepik: Bewani Forest Products Limited. Bewani Portion 160C, FCA 10-03, amount stolen in 12 months K23,968,848

Vanimo Jaya Limited, Aitape West Portion 248C, FCA 10-02, amount stolen in 12 months K4,921,479

Westenders Limited, Madedua Ext Mengen, FCA 10-03, amount stolen in 12 months K1,024,585

Jambo Trak Limited, Schotiuhu Cocoa Estate, FCA 10-04, amount stolen in 12 months K14,701,076

East Sepik: Brilliant Investment Limited (Star Avenue), Marienberg (Anogram), FCA 11-02, amount stolen in 12 months K12,554,368

Summit Agriculture Limited, Wewak Turubu, FCA 11-01, amount stolen in 12 months K25,016,573

East New Britain

Cakara Alam Limited (Tzen Niugini), Illi Waswas FCA, 15-02, amount stolen in 12 months K11,630,578

Kerawara Limited (KK Connections) Toria Head Waters, FCA 15-04, amount stolen in 12 months K1,148,365

Rimbunan Hijau Limited (Gilford) Sigite Mukus, FCA 15-07, amount stolen in 12 months K28,429,919

Tian Suyn Limited, Suikol-Makolkol FCA, 15-05, amount stolen in 12 months K10,993,849

New Ireland: Joinland, Umbukal, FCA 16-02 / 16-62 / 16-63, amount stolen in 12 months K18,318,037

Oro: Matufi Limited, Tufi Wanigela, amount stolen in 12 months K1,536,000

West New Britain: Westenders Limited, Lolobao, FCA 14-01, amount stolen in 12 months K13,971,019

* September 2013

** Declared export value of the raw logs


Pato: We decide who stays

The National, 12 May 2014

FOREIGN Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato says he will choose which refugees resettle in the country, according to an Australian media report.
Pato’s statement contradicted Australia’s assertion that all genuine refugees detained on Manus Island would be resettled within PNG.
He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he could take advice from an expert panel and choose refugees based on their professional skills. “The National Government will determine who will or will not be settled in PNG as refugees,” he said.
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said last Friday “everyone who’s found to be a refugee at Manus Island, they will be resettled in Papua New Guinea”. 
But Pato said the final say would be made by the PNG Cabinet.
“I have said there’s an expert panel which is going to formulate the policy framework within which we will act and depending on what the recommendations are – if they for example impose a quota, if they for example require a particular type of skilled persons for resettlement – those are matters for the cabinet,” he said.
Pato said he expected refugees to begin resettling in PNG in July with immigration officials processing about 10 asylum claims each week.


Vegetable supply falls

The National, 12 May 2014

THE volume of fresh produce supplied from the Highlands is decreasing, according to Clifton Gwabu from the National Agricultural Research Institute.
He said 5,600 tonnes of fresh produce was supplied, which was well below the demand of 80,000 tonnes.
Gwabu, a participant in the Central and National Capital District vegetable forum in Port Moresby recently, said the country paid K10 million on vegetable import – eight times higher than the world average price
“The four-year project, which was carried out at Tapini and Sogeri, saw that K1.4 million could be obtained from 20ha of cabbage under the current price while 20ha of broccoli stand at K3.2 million,” Gwabu said.
He said Tapini and Sogeri were chosen as project sites because they had higher altitudes similar to altitudes in the Highlands.


A story of the rural road – deterioration, danger, spades & thieves

3 May 2014

IT has been raining in the last few days which has brought both blessings and curses with it.

Commuters along the Okuk Highway are negotiating potholes, overflows and landslips and relying on the skills and expertise of the driver to deliver them safely to their destinations. PMV commuters don’t care whether the Okuk Highway deteriorates or not because no matter how bad the highway it is nothing compared to their own roads. People are used to landslips and mudslides that tear away half the road. They travel on open-backed four wheel drives on the steep, slippery and muddy roads.

They almost peel the paint off the vehicles with their fingers attempting to gain a firm grip to avoid falling off the tray in those savage road conditions. Regular road users grow blisters on their palms travelling regularly on such bad roads. It all boils down to the rural populace not knowing who is responsible to fix their roads. Some MPs have bought machines to construct and maintain existing roads in districts. However, we have not heard any success stories. The electors don’t know where the machines have gone since the elections, in particular in electorates where MPs lost their seats.


Mine tailings threaten bay

The National, 13 May, 2014

JUST two years of operation of the Ramu nickel-cobalt mine has seen tailings smother organisms and sediment in the Basamuk Bay, a research says. 
Such has been the impact on the biodiversity that organisms have disappeared, it said.
Marine researcher and biology lecturer from the University of Papua New Guinea Ralf Mana said: “The tailings of the mine disposed into the bay have overridden the organisms and the sea and the sea floor.
“The shellfish, star-fish, worms, sea cucumbers and other invertebrates that live on the ocean sediments are affected.”
Mana and two French researchers from the National Museum of National History in Paris, carried out a study over 30 days on the research vessel Alis and reported on the impact of the tailings. Mana said they had not seen the organisms that lived on the sediment.
“All the organisms have disappeared,” he claimed.
“We might lose the different biodiversity in the sea because of the tailings


ʻSorceryʼ leads to killing

The National, 14 May 2014

 A MAN accused of practising sorcery was tortured until he died, while 13 homes in his village were razed to the ground in Bana district, Central Bougainville.
Central Bougainville regional police commander Januarius Vosival said Albert Bute from Nokaia village was accused of causing the death of a woman three weeks ago.
Vosival said the woman’s relatives assaulted Bute at Nokaia village last Wednesday and took him hostage with three other villagers after burning the 13 homes.
Bute was taken to another village and tortured until he died. Vosival said Bute was buried the same day by his captors.
One of the three hostages managed to run away while police negotiated with the captors to release the other two. One of the two was admitted to the Arawa health centre with severe wounds.
He urged people in Bana to respect human life and stop the primitive practice of pay back killings.
“You cannot solve any problems through payback killings. When you kill someone you will only make things difficult. Killing is not the answer,” he said.
“We have seen what killing has done to our region and it is not something to be proud of.”

A quick look at some of the impacts of Australia’s budget on PNG

14 May 2014.

First, there’s a reduction of $7.6 billion over the next five years in the total overseas aid budget, which takes Australia well below the target originally agreed for helping countries meet the millenium development goals. In a sneaky move, Australia will now tie its aid budget to the consumer price index, not gross domestic product. What this means in layman’s terms is a net reduction – and a big one – in its overall aid program. “We are going to be looking at a 10% reduction in our aid by the time we get to 2015-16,” says Professor Stephen Howes from the Australian National University

The good news is that this does not appear to affect aid to Papua New Guinea, which has seen an increase in Australian money in return for hosting the Manus Island asylum seekers processing centre.

Reward, bribe, blood money, call it what you will.


Extra $6.4M needed for flood relief

Solomn Star 17 May.

THE National Disaster Management Office is seeking an extra $6.4 million from the national government to continue with its relief efforts outside of Honiara and other provinces.

This was after the initial $6 million the government had allocated for relief efforts in Honiara had been used up. 

The need for additional funds had put more pressure on NDMO as much is yet to be done outside of Honiara and the provinces, which required urgent attention and response from the government. 

In response to questions raised by the Solomon Star, the NDMO office said the Government had already spent a total of $6 million in response to the disaster emergency situation and the ongoing rehabilitation process following the April 3 floods which killed at least 22 people. 

However, NDMO said it is seeking extra funds from the Government to continue with relief efforts in other provinces which were also affected during the recent heavy rains. As of 13th May, a total of 4358 displaced peoples are still staying in the camps which are operational. 
It was reported that initially there were about 10,092 Internally Displaced Persons living in 27 Evacuation Centres on both Honiara and Guadalcanal. 

While pressure is now on the government and NDMO to repatriate people out from the current evacuation centres, NDMO said these people’s occupation depends on the ongoing repatriation process and how fast people are repatriated back to their communities.


PNG’s elections: the most expensive in the world, and getting worse

By Stephen Howes on May 12, 2014

An interesting evaluation has just been released by DFAT of Australia’s assistance to PNG to help it hold elections over the last decade. The evaluation estimates that the PNG Government spent $US207 million on the 2012 elections, and the Australian Government spent another $US35 million. This takes the total cost per voter to $US63, the highest in the world. The typical cost of an election is apparently US$5 per voter.

What’s more, elections are getting more expensive in PNG. The report estimates that the 2007 election cost 68% more than the 2002 election and the 2012 election cost 54% more than the 2007 election, so that the 2012 election was 2.6 times as expensive as the 2002 one – and all those numbers are after inflation. Costs might be increasing, but that doesn’t mean that quality is improving. The evaluation finds that the 2007 election was better than the 2002 election (the “worst elections ever” and “a debacle”), but that the 2012 election was worse than 2007. For example, the 2007 election rolls are estimated to have had half a million “excess voters” (more names than there should have been). This was an improvement from the 1.4 million excess voters on the electoral rolls in 2002, but the number increased again to 900,0000 in 2012.


Absence of God in schools cause of problems

The absence of God in schools is the key factor behind the continuous disciplinary problems such as school fights and cult activities among students. And a new program called Dream makers, coordinated by the Prison Fellowship PNG Inc. will be rolled out again for the second year after it received funding from the Restorative Justice and Crime Prevention branch of the Law and Justice Sector. Trialed out last year in the national Capital District, Dream makers program involves getting eligible Christian parolees to go out and share their experiences with students in schools and divert them from getting involved in school fights and cult activities. Prison Fellowship PNG coordinator Moale Vagi says from the five schools trialed last year, Wardstrip Primary school headmistress Emily Ricky saw improvement amongst their student’s behavior who underwent counselling under the program. “The absence of God in schools is the main factor behind school fights and students getting involved in cult activities,” He adds the program will also reconcile schools which are enemies so peace prevails.


Wife bashing on the rise

The National, 16 May 16th, 2014

 WIFE bashing is on the rise in Western Highlands and Mt Hagen police expect to receive more than a thousand reports by the years end.
Last month, they received 87 formal complaints.
Gang rape was on the rise, Mt Hagen police told a one-day male forum on human rights on Tuesday.
The forum was organised by the local branch of Family Health International 360 (FHI360) and attracted more than 50 participants from the police, city authority, councils, private companies and various organisations.
The head of a police family sexual violence unit, Las Punta, said many women were now coming forward to report mistreatment by their husband.
He said they were however in a dilemma.
“Because of the bride price payment and since many of their husbands are breadwinners in the family, they don’t want to take them to court,” he said.
He said in most cases, the police would take the victims to the family support centre at the Hagen referral hospital to seek medical treatment and help them get protection orders from the court.
FHI360 programme officer Felix Umba said gender-based violence in the province was a big concern and urged stakeholders to work together to reduce it. 
He said that during the forum they collected views from the men on how best to educate people in the workplace or different communities to minimise gender-based violence.
He said his organisation was working with the Mt Hagen hospital, Anglicare Stop Aids, Baptist Union of PNG, police, city authority and community-based organisations to reduce all forms of violence.


Solomons APTC Celebrates One Year

Solomon Times. 13 May 2014

One year ago, Solomon Islands’ first Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) campus was launched at Don Bosco Technical Institute, boosting training and skills development opportunities for Solomon Islanders. Since then more than 93 students have enrolled in Certificate II courses in carpentry and automotive services which are accredited to Australian standards. In line with Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development standards, 44 students are completing 1360 hours of on the job training. Since 2007 when the APTC was established, more than 600 Solomon Islanders have graduated from APTV courses with the skills, training and confidence to take advantage of job opportunities, either in Solomon Islands or in the region.


Govt moves to register population

The National, 19 May 2014

ABOUT 80% of the population remains unregistered and moves are underway to address that, Parliament was told last week.
National Planning and Monitoring Minister Charles Abel said accurate and reliable population information was the basis for development in many countries. Abel made the remarks when tabling the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014 in Parliament on Thursday.
He said last year the Government recognised the need to record and account for every citizen.
He said a decision was made to introduce the national identification programme. 
“The Government subsequently directed the formulation of the policy and legislative development of the national register to capture a citizen’s identity, civil status and produce reliable and up to date population information and trustworthy registration and identification system,” he said.
“A formal registration and identity system was introduced in 1963 through the enactment of the Civil Registration Act to cater for births, deaths and marriages.”
Abel said 50 years later, 80% of the total population of PNG remained unregistered. 

Woman dies while waiting for help

Post Courier, 21 May 2014

Two weeks ago, three children lost their mum to childbirth related problems because they live in an area where government services have come to a standstill. Madang leaders, including those from the provincial government, are now being questioned about their priorities. The National Health Plan 2011 to 2020 advocates for safe motherhood, antenatal care and supervised deliveries by proposing community health posts replace aidposts in every ward throughout the country. According to the plan, the community health posts should have three health workers one of which should be a midwife. But these services still remain a dream for the majority of Papua New Guineans, and Mrs Gideon was no exception. Her hope for antenatal care was dashed because the nearest health facility where she could get care was closed, and others were too far away. Mrs Gideon was from Mungumat in Middle Ramu District. She died on May 5, hours after a call was made by two elementary teachers in her village to the Madang Health Office for her and another patient to be medivaced. The call came through at 11pm. Mrs Gidano had been sick for the last four weeks of her pregnancy. She could hardly walk to the health centre which was hours away; there were no drugs in any of the health facilities at all levels. The airstrip was closed and there is no road connection from Bogia to Josephstaal. In addition, there were no health workers in all newly built aidposts and there was a shortage of staff at Josephstaal. Throughout her antenatal period, she could not receive care because the nearest health facility, Temandapor Health Centre, had been closed because there was no health worker. The health worker had been in town for more than six months because of the unavailability of medical supplies. Mrs Gideon’s next alternative was to seek antenatal care at Josephstaal, a six hours walk away. And to get to another health centre at Daigul, she would have to walk for six hours from Mungumat to Yoro and then get on a vehicle to get to the health centre. While dealing with these tough situations, she died at Ariangon Junction at 1:30am, and was taken back to Guam for the relatives to take the body home.


More teens giving birth

The National, 21 May 2014

Reports from Port Moresby General Hospital’s labour ward show an increase in the number of teenagers giving birth, a health official says.
 With the free fee health policy, the number of mothers who came for delivery had increased from 40 to 60 per day generally. 
She said out of the total, nearly a third of the mothers admitted at the labour ward were teenagers. 
“In a month we deliver more than 1000 new born babies and 18% (about 200) are from teenagers,” Sister Annette said.
She said with the current problem of nurses shortage and the hospital being the only centre with a labour ward, midwives were not able to attend to each mother through birth.
PNG Mid-Wifery Society presidetn Dr Nancy Buasi said the government should provide more training institutions for nurses and  upgrade facilities as well as to provide labour and delivery facilities in other urban clinics to avoid overcrowding at the hospital.
“We can provide the care, especially for mothers, but we want the government to provide the training and facilities in other urban centres so that the workload can be distributed,” Buasi said.

The Structure to Confront Corruption

PNG Blogs Wednesday, 21 May, 2014

By SAM KOIM Speech at the 30th Australia PNG Business Council Forum held in Cairns


Corruption is a global phenomenon and we can take a whole year discussing about corruption, its causes, trends, effects and the strategies to minimise it. The scale of corruption differs from country to country. Sometimes, it’s the way the society tolerates it.

• In one country, using one’s relatives (in PNG we call wantoks) for favours is illegal and unethical, whilst in another country, they may not have a wantok system owing to the fact that their society may not be communally structured hence they call it “network”.  

• In one country, when a simple public official is receiving a bribe to supplement his salary to meet the necessities of living is called “bribery” whilst in other countries, the economic rents their multinational conglomerates pay to top government officials for government favours are readily classified as success fees or facilitations fees.  

• In one country, giving cash or other gifts to potential voters during election as bribery, an attribute of election corruption. But one wonders whether in other countries where all those big business magnates who back political parties with millions of dollars do it for the love of their country, without any expectation in return such as a favourable policy when the party they supported gets into power.

For instance:   ‘[For full speech, see the reference above.] –


Villagers secure victory over Malaysian land grabbers in Papua New Guinea

May 21, 2014

The people of Collingwood Bay in Papua New Guinea have won back their land from Malaysian loggers and oil palm companies after a hard fought battle in which that received support from many groups and individuals both in PNG and overseas, including Oro Governor, Gary Juffa.

The National Court in Port Moresby has declared that two Special Agriculture and Business Leases covering 38,350 hectares of land are null and void and ordered the Sate to cancel the title deeds..

The leases were originally issued in July 2012 to two PNG registered companies, Sibu Management Limited and Wanigela Agro Industrial Limited. But in October 2012 Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) a Malaysian oil palm company announced that, together with Malaysian investment company Batu Kawan, it had acquired the rights to the land  – via a third company, Collingwood Bay Plantations. The two leases were issued by the Department if Lands despite a government moratorium on new SABLs and a Commission of Inquiry which was on-going at the time, as we revealed in 2012. The Commission of Inquiry found more than 5 million hectares of land in PNG has been fraudulently leased using the SABL mechanism, but the government has failed to implement the Commission recommendations and revoke the unlawful leases. Lester Seri says “while our people are celebrating they are mindful of the innocent families and other communities struggling thought the country with the same problem, particularly in Turubu, Pomio and elsewhere and in East Sepik, East New Britain and Oro Provinces. We are urging the government to take a firm and descisive decision in dealing with the CoI recommendations by cancelling all the illegal leases. Court cases are expensive and beyond the means of most village people”.


Pay-back: Priest and catechist murdered in the Goilala mountains

Fr Brian Cahill MSC

IT took a week to confirm the death of Fr Gerry Inao and several other victims of a pay-back killing spree in the Goilala mountains of Papua New Guinea’s Central Province last week.

I received a report by telephone on Wednesday 7 May at around 10 in the morning from our Guarimeipa primary school head teacher, John Hoviai, that Fr Gerry Inao and the communion minister, Benedict, were shot dead at Kamulai on the preceding Sunday.

John had walked down from Guarimeipa to Zania, where there is a hotspot for Digicel mobile reception. The report was brief and sketchy: Fr Gerry’s body was still on the ground at Kamulai where they shot him as was Benedict’s, whom they had cut to pieces. Fr Gerry, a native of the area and a member of the Kunimeipa tribe, was in his early forties and ordained a priest only in August 2013. He had been shot through the heart at close range. This cycle of pay-back killings has been going on in the Kunimeipa area for more than four years. Reports coming into the main Goilala government station of Tapini since Fr Gerry’s death say that seven other people have been killed since Sunday. …

Two helicopters arrived at Bereina around 8 am and  Fr Paul and I travelled to Olivi on the first flight with the police photographer. We eventually found Olivi, nestled behind Mt Yule and landed. We were greeted by the villagers who told us Fr Gerry’s body had been buried the day before inside the Olivi church. They had carried the body from Kamulai where it had been left on the ground and waited with it at Olivi until they couldn’t wait any longer as it needed to be buried. They had lovingly buried him inside the church where he had celebrated Easter with them.

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