Social Concerns Notes – August 2014

Abandoned kid learns to survive on city streets
Post Courier, July 28, 2014
ANGU Mathew is about seven or eight years old. The Tari lad has a very striking smile that he has developed over the appreciation of very little things like an empty plastic bottle of coke on the streets or drains of Mt Hagen during his short, difficult and parasitic life which only Angu takes as a normal life. The streets of Mt Hagen became his garden at a tender toddler’s age when his father died some five years ago. Sadly, the Mathews had four more babies when the father died, leaving the mother to raise five kids. Sensing the difficult times ahead, Angu’s mother abandoned all the kids and remarried a Tari man. The father’s relatives took in the four younger kids to raise. However, Angu was abandoned on the streets of Mt Hagen, orphaned by both man and nature when he was barely four years old. He learnt the very essential skills of survival on the streets at a very young age.
Over the last four years, the strong looking Huli boy roamed the streets, garbage bins and drains of Mt Hagen in search of empty Coca-Cola plastic bottles to survive. Random visits to the city’s restaurant in the hope of left overs or a good Samaritan’s notice was a norm.
“Mi save givim 50t nabaut long ol sampela boys mi save na go slip lo haus blo ol sampela taim. Taim mi nogat moni, mi save slip ausait lo Hagen Kofi.” (I pay 50t to some boys I know to sleep in their houses. When there’s no money, I live outdoors at Hagen Coffee,” Angu said on Saturday.
He has a single meal of K1 worth of flour balls every evening before looking for friends to pay the nightly rental of 50t. In good times, Angu collects enough bottles for K10.
In bad days when he makes no money, he goes to sleep outdoors on an empty stomach.
Though healthy looking, the lack of proper diet and clean water, hygiene, living outdoors and long hours of working on the bustling streets of Mt Hagen has taken its toll – Angu has a shrunken face with deep black eyes that do not glitter a fraction. He gives his best smile with a happy yes when asked if his mother visits him and his siblings who live with relatives nearby. Angu said he was one of the many kids that live a similar hard life in Mt Hagen. The Huli lad said sharing and caring among his peers was vital and they have survived all these years because of their deep bond and support for each other. Angu is only one story of a growing problem of orphaned or rejected children who are being left to fend for their survival.

The problem of children’s rights: Enough of the toktok
Fr John Glynn | We Care Foundation
WE have good laws, and there is plenty of awareness of the problem of children’s rights, but sadly the protocols, or the machinery, for making the laws work is just not there. One Fr Jude’s AIDS orphans who I have been helping is a young girl called G. She has been living with her extended family and they allowed her to continue her schooling after Fr Jude left. I have been paying her school fees, buying her uniforms, shoes and similar things. This year G was in Grade 8 at Eki Vaki Primary school and I promised to get her into my school, Jubilee Secondary, next year if she did well in her exams. When I returned from overseas recently I found that G was no longer in school. She had been taken out and is being kept at home to care for a sick relative. Her education is finished. The family is no longer in Hohola – I don’t know where they have moved to.
When a child stops coming to school like this there is no follow-up. There may be a half-hearted attempt to contact the family, but if there is no success then the child is forgotten. There should be a report made to Social Services, and if necessary to the Police.
The family should be found and made to answer for the child’s removal from school. But this simply does not happen. It is as if nobody cares! As if it is thought that talking about the problem is enough – publishing pamphlets, articles in the paper, workshops, ‘awareness’ programs, and so on.
I am supporting four other children like G in three different schools. The one boy has a corner in a hut in a settlement where he sleeps. There is no running water, no electricity, no toilet, he has no family and must find a few kina every fortnight to pay for his bed. Fortunately, he is in Grade 12 and has the promise of a job as soon as his exams are finished.
Two of the girls have no families either and I am supporting them in a hostel for young women run by Sisters. The third girl is in a private school and lives with her mother who is a very sick woman and desperately poor with no other family support.
Two of the girls suffer from very poor eyesight – and one also is partially deaf. They never complained as they knew there was no help for them, and the teachers in the schools they attended never discovered their disabilities because our schools do not concern themselves with such matters.
The schools these young people attend make no allowances for them. They are compelled to pay ‘project fees’ and to take part in fund-raising for the school, and to somehow acquire textbooks and other school materials, sports clothes and the like. And they are sometimes threatened with punishment – even suspension – if they don’t comply.
I feel very cynical about all the talk about children’s rights. Children who do not belong to a strong, supportive, loving family are severely penalised by our schools and by everybody else too.
The awareness programs we run should be aimed, not at families, but at our schools, Government Departments, Church Communities, and at anybody who has to deal with children. These are the areas in which the worst discrimination against vulnerable children takes place.

Archbishop to take in neglected children
The National, Tuesday August 5th, 2014
THE Catholic Archdiocese of Mt Hagen is setting up family homes for neglected children in the city. Archbishop Douglas Young had a meeting with staff from family life ministry and health services after identifying some deteriorating situations that caused children to be homeless. 
Young said parents dying of HIV/AIDS, marriage break-ups, urban drift, unemployment and inter-cultural marriages were some key factors that caused children to be homeless and displaced.
 “Society rejection of orphans is quite alarming. Though there is awareness for orphans, yet there is no acceptance,” he said.
Abp Young has recommended to
Provide family life support and counselling;
provide housing and promote nutrition programmes;
work with the Justice Department and Child Welfare;
establish a drop-in centre and have clear guidelines for the centre; and,
Consider age limitations to avoid conflict and involve pastors in the team to put emphasis on spiritual guidance.
Abp Young said he would work with the Government and non government organisations that promoted child rights and welfare.

INA: Local ‘power plays’ behind rise in sorcery-related violence
Post Courier, August 02, 2014
Young men in Papua New Guinea are using sorcery-related violence to gain status and power in their local communities, according to the head of PNG’s Institute of National Affairs. Paul Barker has told Pacific Beat the attacks are often the result of complex “power plays” among men at the village level, with women the majority of victims. “It’s led by groups of young men who seeking status in society, partly by (joining) gangs and terrorizing potential victims,” he said. “They’re also demonstrating their power versus that of the traditional leadership, including the more modern leadership, the local village court magistrates and other leaders. Earlier this year, Amnesty International said it had received reports of girls as young as eight being attacked and accused of sorcery and children being orphaned as a result of one or both their parents being killed after accusations of witchcraft. Paul Barker says there are “very courageous efforts” by local groups such as the Kup Women for Peace and Simbu Defenders who attempt to rescue people who have been threatened and who receive little protection from police. “These women go in at great risk to themselves to rescue the victims or the potential victims,” he said. “But we’ve seen photographs of police standing on one side watching events. Maybe they’re too outnumbered. Maybe they’re too much part of the community.”
Mr Barker says the current climate leaves women terrified of being accused of sorcery or witchcraft.
“If you attend the funeral or if you’re not showing sufficient remorse or sufficient upset following someone’s death then the finger risks getting pointed at you as maybe having collaborated in the whole thing,” he said.

Dame Taylor dedicates her appointment to the women of PNG and the region
THE incoming Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor of Papua New Guinea has dedicated her appointment to the women of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region. “It’s a big step for women in my country and for women in the region and I acknowledge our mothers, sisters and our daughters at this time,” she told reporters on Friday.

“The broader message is that my two deputy secretaries are women as well. I know that some will say let’s see what these women can deliver. Men in the Pacific know that in all traditional obligations women are partners. 

“However, what is new in this case is that three women are at the helm of the eminent regional architecture, Dame Taylor told journalists here in Koror.
“The decision making process in the Forum is predominantly male. That’s fine with us and we will we will work with that. The most important thing is to deliver on the decisions of Leaders.

Save our mums
The National, Tuesday August 5th, 2014
MOTHERS in Papua New Guinea face a higher risk of dying during childbirth compared to other Pacific island countries because of the lack of proper supervision and care, it has been revealed. In fact, the maternal and neo-natal mortality rate in PNG is second only to Afghanistan in the Asia-Pacific region with 733 deaths for every 100,000 live births, according to Dr Gairo Onagi, the University of Goroka Vice-Chancellor. This compares to nine deaths in every 100,000 live births in Australia. He said the solution lay in having more trained midwives in the country, a problem the UOG was doing something about. He revealed this during the opening of a new building for midwifery training plus four staff quarters at the university last Friday. He said 80% of PNG people lived in rural areas where most of these maternal deaths occurred. Onagi said with the alarming statistics, the University of Goroka introduced the Bachelor of Midwifery course in 2010 to help reduce maternal deaths. “It has been proven globally that the best way to reduce maternal mortality is through the training of more midwives and this is what UOG is aiming to do through its programmes,” he said.

Censor: Censorship begins at home
The National, Friday August 8th, 2014
CENSORSHIP begins at home with parents and children, Chief Censor Steven Mala says. Mala said because of a boost in technology in PNG, people were able to watch any kind of movies online. Therefore the censorship board is setting up legislation to classify and control the movies.“We have seen and experienced both positive and negative effects of technology on us and our children,” he said. “Our youths are abusing the social media like Facebook to upload and download explicit images and comments. “We have an access to internet in the village level and most teens are abusing the internet services to view pornographic images and videos. “Thus, we have set up legislation through the government to promote decency in the communities and protect women and children.” Mala said it was not to suppress freedom of information and speech, but to bring a bit of restriction to the types of movies and images viewed by the people.

New Act outlaws marriages under 18
The National, Monday August 11th, 2014
IT will be illegal for minors to be married under a new Civil Registry Act, Constitutional Law Reform Commission Secretary Dr Eric Kwa says. Kwa said any child under 18 would not be allowed to be married. He said many parents have been allowing their children, especially girls, to get married for the sake of money, fame and status. “They (the girls) are not given opportunity to go to school and study. “Therefore, they are getting married at age of 15, 16 and 17 straight after their puberty stage,” Kwa said. “This bad idea of marrying below the age 18 will no longer be tolerated by the PNG government under the new act.” He said the new law would also prevent polygamous marriages. “The act will strongly put more emphasis on monogamy marriage, which means a man can only marry one woman,” Kwa said. “No polygamy marriage practices will be registered in PNG under the new act. ”He said the government hoped to transform the country with the new law.

The Pacific Solution and PNG’s sovereignty & security 14 August, 2014
THE Pacific Solution emerged as a policy of the Australian government under prime minister John Howard’s regime. The policy aims at transporting asylum seekers to detention centres in small independent states within the Pacific region rather than allowing them to settle in mainland Australia.
When the policy was first introduced in 2001, it had bipartisan support from both the Liberal-National government and Labor opposition of the time.
Offshore processing is to the advantage of the Australian government because on Australian soil asylum seekers have certain legal rights which make it difficult to send them back to their country of origin. With the offshore camps in Manus and Nauru, the Australian government can easily process and settle them in a place other than Australia. Australia, as a developed country in the Pacific region, is exercising its influence over the vulnerable developing Pacific island states including Papua New Guinea, which features greatly on Australia’s foreign policy radar. …
Australia facilitates its interests in the Pacific to protect its own sovereignty and security without the realising that it may undermine the sovereignty and security of small Pacific Island countries.

Living with crime and violence in Papua New GuineaL
Laura Keenan.
Last month I was interviewing participants in the World Bank’s Urban Youth Employment Project in Port Moresby, talking about the challenges that PNG’s young people face in finding work.
One issue that came up repeatedly was mobility – or the lack of it: the basic ability to travel to and from the workplace. It is no secret that parts of Port Moresby are dangerous and crime is high. There are regular stories of carjacking but public transport is also a huge risk – an issue which disproportionately affects workers coming from poorer parts of the city. …As with most workplaces, there is a staff-bus that ferries staff to and from work, but even this bus has “no-go areas” – parts of the city where the risks are seen to be too high for it to enter. Staff who live in these settlements will have to make their own way and they face considerable risk, especially if it’s after hours.
A new World Bank report series attempts to quantify some of the costs Papua New Guinea faces from violent crime. According to official figures, crime rates have stabilized over the last decade, but there are significant regional disparities: crime is seemingly on the rise in ‘hotspots’ like Lae, the Western Highlands and the National Capital District, and it is also increasingly violent. Use of firearms is escalating.
The reports look at direct costs faced by local firms – finding for example that the average business loses K90,000 (US $33,000) in stolen property every year; and close to the same amount as a result of closing early due to threats of violence. But it also details many indirect costs that are more difficult (though perhaps not impossible) to quantify. Issues like staff absenteeism or lost productivity. Businesses being unwilling to expand into new areas or sectors, resulting in significant foregone investment, or small firms unable to get going because of high security costs. The burden on the healthcare system as a result of rising violence in urban areas, or employers not wanting to employ people from certain areas – thus escalating exclusion and inequality. Or the issue of Gender-Based Violence, which is a known, though too often silent reality across Papua New Guinea. It is a human tragedy but its impacts are wider – incurring costs from disability, illness and accident, on productivity and motivation. Globally, World Bank research suggests that gender-based violence can cost a country between 1.2 and 3.7 percent of GDP.
PNG is a wonderful country that I have been privileged to work in, and I have always been made to feel welcome there. Too often, crime and violence are outsiders’ first associations with the country and it doesn’t capture the reality or the people on the ground – and all the beauty and wonder that the country has to offer. But it is true that crime is a reality of everyday life for many people, especially in the cities – for locals more than foreigners. There are no simple answers. The causes of violent crime are largely structural – linked to poverty and inequality: a context where economic growth hasn’t yet benefitted the majority of the people. As a consequence security costs are a spiraling expense. Private security accounts for an average of 5% of annual operating costs for a business in PNG, with nearly a third of firms reporting that for them it’s more than 10%.
To my mind, the only real answer, the true conversation, is about addressing the root causes of crime and violence – poverty, inequality, unemployment and marginalization of some groups, especially youth. These reports aim to inspire this conversation – but what do you think? What are the impacts of crime and violence on the economy? How does it affect you and what are the solutions? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

PNG strives to achieve UN goals
Post Courier, August 18, 2014
Monday August 18 marks 500 days of action for PNG to continue its efforts in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are set to conclude at the end of 2015.
Established in 2000, the eight MDGs were developed to form a blueprint for change, which were agreed to by all countries and leading development institutions. “
“Important progress has been made in areas pivotal to Papua New Guinea’s development, in particular recent reforms in primary education, but the MDGs remind us that continued efforts are needed – especially in child and maternal mortality and combating HIV AIDS, malaria and other diseases.”
The United Nations is working with governments, community groups and other partners to build on the momentum generated by the MDGs and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, a program which Trivedy says Papua New Guinea is heavily involved with.
“Papua New Guinea has taken on a leadership role in shaping the future global development agenda by holding post-2015 consultations and working in partnership with Denmark in the lead-up to the post-2015 summit being held next year,” he said. The post-2015 national consultation has seen the United Nations partner with PNG government to give citizens from all walks of life an opportunity to raise their concerns, aspirations and issues in response to the question “What is the future you want for Papua New Guinea?”
The short survey, which is available at, asks participants to list the top six issues which most affect them.

Manus doesn’t want to deal with refugees
Post Courier, August 15,2014, Story courtesy of Radio New Zealand
The governor of Manus Island Charlie Benjamin says the province will not allow any refugees to settle there. A small number of asylum seekers have had their refugee claims recognised at Australia’s detention camp on Manus Island. Papua New Guinea has said it will resettle asylum seekers who are found to be refugees but the government is yet to identify locations for settlement. The governor for Manus Province Charlie Benjamin says it won’t be on Manus. “Being a small province we do not intend to have any permanent asylum seekers or those that have been granted status to be on this island, we would only be helping in processing.” Charlie Benjamin believes refugees will be accepted into the wider PNG community especially if they have the skills that the country needs.

Crime rate dips
The National, Monday August 18th, 2014
CRIME rate in the country has significantly dropped in the past three years, with the prison population reduced by more than 50% over the same period, it has been revealed “There has been a significant decline in major crime over the past three years due to strong government policy on law and order that is supported through increased funding,” O’Neill said: “This has seen the number of inmates at several prisons decrease by over half – such as in Bomana (in Port Moresby) where the inmates have been reduced from more than 1000 to around 450.

Jails under stress
The National, Friday 29th of August, 2014
PRISON authorities are concerned about the escalating number of remand prisoners, who this year alone will cost the ministry more than K13 million to feed and care for.
Correctional Services Minister Jim Simatab said as of last Friday (August 22), the total prison population in the country stood at 4280. And out of this, 1434 (or 34%) are on remand.
He said it was a huge burden on the ministry and prison authorities.
“On average, an inmate on remand can wait for up to two to three years before they can complete their trial and are either released from prison, or convicted by the courts,” he said.
Simatab said: “Some have waited for as long as five years before their fates were determined. It costs just over K9000 per year to feed and care for an inmate. Hence, our detainee population will cost the Correctional Service over K13 million this year.”
He said some prisons were over-crowded and holding numbers twice their capacity. 
“Such a situation is inhuman, as living conditions can deteriorate very rapidly. Overcrowding is a recipe for prison escapes,” he said. 

School puts student’s health first, hires doctor
The National, Tuesday August 19th, 2014
WEST Goroka Primary School, in Eastern Highlands, is the first to engage a professional medical doctor to provide health care for children and teachers. Dr Susanna Andrias, a former lecturer at the Taurama Medical School, has been providing health care for the past three weeks after she was engaged by head teacher Tony Koyangko. Koyangko said healthy children would have good concentration in the classroom, leading to good academic results. “We want to have healthy children to help them remain focused as healthy minds will absorb skills and knowledge well,” he said. “Children miss out on classes when they are sick and when they go to the public hospitals, they will wait in long queues,” Andrias said. “But with medical service available in the school, they are getting first class treatment. “We know that a healthy mind will allow them to concentrate well in class. “I give motivational talks to the school children, which helps them to remain focused on what they want to become later in life.” West Goroka Primary School is one of the largest schools in the country and provides counselling services through the non-government organisation the Family Voice.

Suspects arrested over asylum seeker’s death
Post Courier, August 20,2014, 03:29 am
TWO suspects have been arrested so far by police over the murder of Iranian Razza Barati who was violently beaten to death inside the asylum seekers processing centre earlier this year in Manus.
The second suspect was arrested in Kimbe, West New Britain Province.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner and Chief of Operations Jim Andrews said the suspect is Joshua Kaluvia, in his 20s, of mixed Manus and West New Britain parentage.
Berati, 23, of Iran, was brutally beaten to death allegedly by a group of guards at the height of a riot inside the asylum seeker’s camp in February this year.
The police chief said a man identified as Louie Efi, 28, from Manus Province, was also arrested in July for his part in the same killing.
“These two suspects will shed more light on the violence and killing and hopefully assist in the arrest of more suspects involved in the February violence and death,” Mr Andrews said.

Tetanus campaign fails in PNG
Post Courier, August 20,2014, 03:22 am
A mass campaign to rid off tetanus in the country last year has failed miserably.
In 2012, the mass campaign targeting 1.8 million women and girls and 750,000 children in 22 provinces failed a second and third attempt as a result it places PNG in a list of countries that have not eliminated a very fatal disease. Tetanus is a disease passed by tetanus bacteria and is contracted through dirt and soil though wounds. Maternal and neo natal disease remains a threat to women and children.
UNICEF shared its disappointment with the health ministry over the ineffectiveness and uncoordinated efforts by provinces to achieve targets on Monday, which was the beginning of the health week. Tetanus accounts to a significant proportion of maternal deaths predominately in poor settings where women have no access to safe deliveries therefore many of them are forced to give birth at home in unhygienic environments.

21st century so very far away: PNG’s tragedy of remoteness 20 August, 2014. George Kuias
SO here I was at Mirsey health sub-centre in the Ambunti area of the upper Sepik. There was no oxygen, the hydrocortisone and salbutamol had run out nil and even the manual foot pump for nebulising the patient was malfunctioning. Martin, my patient, was developing severe shortness of breath and was cyanosed due to lack of oxygen. Even the antibiotics had not helped. He was restless and gasping for air. I tried to resuscitate him but failed. He needed anti-asthma drugs to revive him. The only option was to refer him to Boram hospital in Wewak – 14 hours by dinghy along the main Sepik River and then by ambulance to Wewak. After sorting out the fuel and the boat operator we trundled off following a tributary of the Sepik. Due to low water levels and submarine tree stumps, we could not travel at speed. At seven o’clock in the night my patient Martin told me to stop and turn back to the health centre. I hesitated. My aim was to save his life. On our way, he had made several attempts to jump overboard but was held back by his guardian. Martins’ voice had become very weak and then he slipped into unconsciousness. His eyes turned upwards, saliva and mucus drained from his nose and mouth and he died in our arms inside the dinghy. Unfortunately I had lost my patient.
As I lowered my head, I thought to myself that Martin should not have died if only the medical kits had arrived on time and all the necessary drugs were in stock. People could argue that it’s the responsibility of the officer in charge to make sure the kits are there and the stocks are maintained and the life-saving equipment is in place. But this is all sweet talk from people in comfortable chairs. It’s tough managing complex cases in remote settings where there are poor or no roads or long water journeys. This is a continuing tragedy happening in many parts of remote Papua New Guinea.

Dwindling tuna stock alarms scientists
The National, Thursday August 21st, 2014
SCIENTISTS have released new assessments on the tuna populations in the Western and central Pacific Ocean.
They show several troubling developments for the world’s largest tuna fishing grounds.
Last month’s figures released by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission scientific committee showed that the total tuna catch last year was more than 2.6 million metric tonnes. 
The number of some tuna species left to reproduce is dwindling, dropping to dangerously low levels in some cases.
The region’s most recent assessment of the bigeye tuna confirms that less than 20% of the population remains. 
Scientist John Hampton told the Pacific News Centre that this was a significant development because fishing nations had agreed that a population size this low “represents an unacceptable risk” to the stock.
“And while the long-line catch of bigeye dropped to its lowest rate since 1996, the purse seine catch increased to its highest rate,” he said.

Friends of Nano quietly go about supporting communities Society Of Presentation Sisters. 22 August, 2014
THE Ningil Friends of Nano are an enthusiastic and committed group of women, men and youths in the picturesque highlands of the Sandaun Province of Papua New Guinea. The group, supported by Sr Bernadine Telami, meets regularly to pray, share and reflect on the Gospel and life and work of Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters. The growing awareness of human rights and justice encourages the Friends of Nano to seek ways of acting to make a difference within their community. The prevailing cultural practices and attitudes of the Papua New Guinea society can either hinder or support an expression of human rights.
Within this context the Friends of Nano are challenged to raise issues and reflect on how they can help support those in the local communities or challenge unjust practices. The Friends of Nano visit the sick and support the youth of the surrounding villages. Joseph is one such person assisted by the Friends of Nano. Since his wife died and his daughter married and lives in another village, Joseph has struggled with failing health to care for himself in his own home. There are no shops, nursing home facilities, no electricity or running water. It would be impossible for ‘Joseph’ to fetch water from the river or gather food from the bush. He needs the support of a stick to get from his indoor dwelling to the outside fire of his garden house where he sits all day and can see others in the village as they pass by. The Friends of Nano assist with personal care, take food and water and sit and chat with him. Joseph is mentally alert and thoroughly enjoys the companionship they bring. Friends of Nano – quiet achievers for Papua New Guinea.

Gender based violence in Papua New Guinea: the case of the missing medical report
By Inez Mikkelsen-Lopez on August 11, 2014
Sarah ran away from her village claiming that her husband was abusing her. The village court found Sarah guilty of “not respecting her marriage vows”, issued her with a AUD300 fine and demanded she return home. Sarah appealed this decision with the district court magistrate, however, the (female) judge dismissed the case based on the grounds that Sarah could not produce a medical report to prove abuse. She ordered Sarah to return to her village and pay the fine, and urged her to honour her marriage vows. Sadly, as unbelievable as this story is, it happened recently in Papua New Guinea.
Stories similar to Sarah’s concerning Gender Based Violence (GBV) appear all too frequently in the local news in PNG, usually involving a case of rape, often by husbands or family members. The multifaceted nature of GBV, involving the legal, social, education and health sectors, makes it extremely complex to address.
At the national level, GBV is addressed in by the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC), which has provincial representation: supporting both the ‘Family and Sexual Violence Units’ annexed to police stations and the ‘Family Support Centres’, often found at provincial hospitals. Primarily, the Family and Sexual Violence Unit deals with the law: the allocation of protection orders or criminal investigations relating to the breach of legislation, such as assaults. The onus to coordinate the entire investigation is therefore placed on the police and not on the victim, where the victim is their witness in their prosecution.
The Family Support Centres recognise the significance of the psychological implications of GBV and provide integrated counselling with medical treatment to women, men and children affected by GBV. There are currently only a handful of Family Support Centres across PNG. What role can the health sector play in combatting GBV? Unfortunately, gender issues are not regarded as a priority under the National Health Plan 2011–20. However, this was recently amended with the release of the National Health Sector Gender Policy (2014), which aims to integrate a gender perspective across the entire health sector (legislation, policies and programs) and throughout the various levels. Although it recognises GBV as a cross-cutting issue, it confirms that it is not a GBV control policy.
Are there changes that can be made within the health system to better respond to GBV? ….

Mobile phone charging clicks
The National, Monday August 25th, 2014
USING a 240KVA portable generator to charge mobile phones, an enterprising man could earn up to K2000 a month. But David Solomon, 30, from Bukawa, Morobe, said only through honest-to-goodness saving from the proceeds that one can earn that much. He confirmed raising K1500 just recently when speaking at Nadzab market over the weekend. Solomon, who migrated from Bukawa to be with his wife in Nadzab, said he collected K2 per mobile phone charge. He said he was charging more than 50 mobile phones a day and charges boom boxes (music). He makes about K100 per day, but on busy days such as Fridays and Saturdays, he could earn more. “In a week, I make K500 to K600, which means I earn K1000 to K1200 in a fortnight. “I support my family with the money I earn and pay school fees for my 10-year old-son,” Solomon said. He had five other competitors in the market who use portable generators.

Educating people by degree – Sam Koim’s ‘anti-corruption capsules’ 25 August, 2014
The head of PNG’s corruption-busting Task Force Sweep, Sam Koim, still with a job after intervention by the courts, uses Facebook to publish his ‘anti-corruption capsules’. They’re always well-read, much favoured and we offer one here as an example….
AS a nation progresses, so do its people. Many people get educated. Many find a decent job that sustains and propels them to prosper in life. Crime also grows in the absence of strong mechanisms to curtail its growth. Those who want to engage in crimes such as stealing and fraud are often too educated to employ primitive gang looting methods with the use of arms. Thus the crime rate on that front may decline. They however take up pen and paper. With the former primitive method, the risks are higher and the rewards are at times relatively small. With the latter, the rewards have proven to be higher and the physical risks are almost nil. I should say criminals have just changed the weapons used to commit a crime.

MP: Malaria, HIV down
The National, Friday 29th of August, 2014
THE prevalence of malaria and HIV in the country has declined in recent years, according to Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Michael Malabag.
He attributed that to the success of the public-private partnership approach.
Malabag yesterday tabled in Parliament the Department of Health 2013 annual management report.
“Malaria generally between 2009 and 2012 saw a 39% reduction in the number of reported cases, a 60% reduction in malaria admissions and a 50% reduction in reported malaria deaths,” he said.
“The prevalence of HIV is below 1% – meaning that we do not have a generalised epidemic as previously thought.
“This reinforces the fact that improved funding and staffing are required to see improvements in our indicators.”
He said the lessons must be translated to other diseases such as Tuberculosis by providing adequate funding and human resources to have an impact. 
Public Service Minister Sir Puka Temu praised the Rotary Against Malaria for distributing mosquito nets to families.
Malabag said five provincial health authority boards had been set up in Western Highlands, Eastern Highlands, Milne Bay, West New Britain and Enga.
East Sepik and Southern Highlands will have their boards established in the coming months. 
“We have been overwhelmed with request from other provinces that are keen to implement the PHA as a vehicle to improving health outcomes for their population,” he said.

10 years after the eruption
PNG Blogs, Monday August 25, 2014
It has been 10 years since the Manam volcanic eruption abruptly forced more than 15000 islanders to move to the mainland of the Madang province. Many of the families, still living in care centers, have been left destitute with very little fertile land to grow food and little means of generating an income. For 10 years, both the National and Provincial governments have ignored the plight of islanders making no firm decision on their resettlement.
Gabriel Kabarapun is a displaced Manam Islander who has been living in the Asarumba care center. He built this house in 2004 when they were evacuated during the volcanic eruption and since then, he has changed the sago palm thatch on his roof only once. Asarumba, like the other Manam care centers, is located on old mission plantations. Building materials are scarce and the islanders are not always allowed to get sago thatch and wood from the traditional land that belongs to the Bogia people. “I can’t get materials to build a new house,” he says. “The posts are slowly rotting, the walls are falling apart. The owners of the land don’t allow us to use their land to get wood or roofing.” Because of the scarcity of land and limited resources, it has become increasingly common to find two families sharing one house. Gabriel shares this house with his nephew. Both men have large families. The house cannot fit them all. This means some family members have use the verandah as sleeping quarters after the evening meals.
“We are a forgotten people,” says former Local level government councilor, Charles Yanda. “It the government can look at foreign asylum seekers, what not pay attention to our needs. We’re Papua New Guineans and we’ve been here for 10 years” While there has been much talk about a permanent solution for the displaced Manam Islanders, much of it has been political talk with no action on the ground.
The Manam population on the care centers has more than doubled since the evacuation. There are now an estimated 30 thousand people scattered along the Bogia coast with remnants of village communities on the sheltered part of the Island.

Wisdom is in nature
By Abp Steve Reichert OFM Cap – Madang
During the past year I’ve travelled by plane from Madang to Wewak and back many times. It is an enjoyable trip. What a beautiful country we live in. Following the coastline one sees the high mountains inland, the vast forests, the rivers and the small villages here and there in the bush.
Then suddenly the mighty Sepik River appears, confidently strolling out of the hills onto the plain, meandering toward the sea. But just before it accomplishes its mission of depositing its contents into the ocean, it turns back on itself, as if it has lost courage at the last minute. It twists and turns in indecision before finally making its way through the sandy beach to the sea. And I said to myself, I’m like that sometimes. Many of us are like that sometimes and often our fear and indecision is a cause for doing wrong and hurting others.
Ramu River – It is bold, dirty and undisciplined. It is selfish and greedy. It eats away at the banks and the foundations of the village houses. It builds up sand and silt like so many excuses until its only escape is to slink off in another unplanned direction. We all know people like that. But sometimes we also see him or her when we look in the mirror. How many of us fail to meet the challenges of life with honesty? It’s easier to run away from responsibility and accountability. We need wisdom and strength.
Manam Volcano – white smoke and black smoke – arrogant, moody, sometimes angry and dangerous. It is not reliable. Karkar Island – Elderly, quiet, stable, settled and generous. It’s like everyone’s grandmother.
And then comes the broken coastline of Madang – the little islands and lagoons, the coral reefs – inviting, peaceful and compassionate. We humans are created in the image and likeness of God, but sin makes us less beautiful than we are meant to be. But there is hope for us. Wisdom that comes from loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, will restore God beauty in us. And loving our neighbour as ourselves no matter what, strengthens the gift of wisdom within us.
As you circle to land on the sea side of the airport you might catch a glimpse of Long Island in the distance to the Southeast – across an angry sea to this volcanic island which erupted 300 years ago and made its mark on the world, causing a time of darkness. It is too far away to see it in detail. But with the help of modern technology, Google Earth, one can see the great beauty of this volcanic island.
Long Island features a beautiful blue lake in its spent crater – and as you scroll closer and closer to it, the name of the lake pops up on your computer – Lake Wisdom. Wouldn’t it be great if we could drink thewater of that lake and gain wisdom? (DWU Foundation Day Mass – 22 August 2014)

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