Social Concerns Notes – November 2016

Economic dip to hit PNG next year, Lupari says

November 17, 2016 The National

CHIEF Secretary Isaac Lupari says next year will be a tough one for Papua New Guinea due to the financial situation of the country. He reiterated what Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker, Finance Minister James Marape and Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele said at the time of the announcement of next year’s budget a few weeks ago.
Lupari said public servants’ wages alone expended almost K4 billion – about 30 per cent of the total annual budget.
“By anyone’s standard, that’s a lot of money,” he said.
“People are investing K4 billion in wages and salaries but are we getting the productivity?

 

Govt and church must work in unity to curb violence


Post Courier, November 15, 2016

‘‘I looked after a Department who deals with family and our focus is on ending violence and strengthening relationships.

As a child growing up, I know the stories, talks, and fears of sorcery related stories.’’

Community Development and Religion Secretary, Anna Solomon said this at a conference in Lae yesterday aimed at addressing sorcery related issues in the country. She said the government and the Churches must work together to address and solve sorcery related killings and violence in the country.

“The Churches were the closest to the people and people respect churches more than the government so it’s good churches take the lead role in addressing sorcery,” Ms Solomon said. She said that in the past, when there were no proper health services and even no health posts, people die of sickness and blamed sorcery but today, sorcery cannot be blamed because there are health services and sickness can be cured. She said many educated and working class people still fear sorcery and don’t want to send their kids or even themselves to the village for holiday because they fear they might be killed if they go back to the village.

Head Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, Rev. Jack Urame said sorcery related violence remains a huge phenomena and the Highlands region is leading with Sorcery related violence followed by Momase, and other parts of the country. “We are facing a new reality in a shift in our beliefs,” Rev. Urame said. He said when bad things happen; people quickly release their frustrations without thinking of the consequences and whether their actions are right or wrong. Rev. Urame said life style diseases are another big problem in the country and when deaths are caused by lifestyle diseases, it is always blamed on witchcraft and sorcery because there are no alternative reasons.

PM: Govt against prostitution

October 31, 2016 The National

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says prostitution will not be legalised in the country.
He told Parliament that although the world’s oldest profession was practised in PNG, “we (as a Christian country) do not condone this kind of practice happening”. “There are other means in which we (Government) can protect some of these people who are engaged in this industry. There is no need for us to legalise prostitution in the country,” he said. “If we are talking about the safety of individuals, we have got enough laws under the criminal code and other laws that can protect issues like assault and abuse of individuals. “We do not need to have a specific law to legalise prostitution in the country.” O’Neill was responding to a question from Usino Bundi MP Anton Yagama on the Government’s position regarding a proposed bill to protect sex workers in the country.

 

Report Violence Cases – PPC

The National 31 October, 2016

SORCERY-related violence and violence against women are major problems in the Highlands and victims are urged to report them to police. Enga police commander George Kakas said he has set up a sorcery-related violence (SRV) task force in Enga and it would be dedicated to reducing the crime in Enga. “This hateful darkness is not customary and has swept across several provinces and towns like a copycat cult that leaves behind tortured and murdered women and men,” Kakas said. “Additionally, families and children are branded with the lifelong stigma of sanguma and communities are left with deep wounds that will only turn to scars in time. These crimes usually centre around someone falling ill and illness being blamed on sorcery, or more troubling, sorcery is used as an excuse to target someone – usually a woman.” Kakas said a combined operation by members from SRV task force and National Capital District police arrested a man on Oct 24 for the torture and murder of a woman accused of sorcery from a remote village in Enga. He said the accused posted photos of the victim on facebook and that was how they tracked him down and he was arrested and charged with the alleged torture and murder of the village woman.

 

Budget Fails Credibility Test

See :http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/11/pngs-2017-budget-fails-credibility-test-is-fiscally-fraudulent.html#more

PAPUA New Guinea’s 2017 budget, which was brought down today in Port Moresby, was a key opportunity to demonstrate the credibility of the O’Neill government’s economic management before next year’s election.  It fails. Foolish games with numbers and unrealistic assumptions severely undermine the budget’s credibility. Indeed, the level of deception arguably approaches fraud.

The biggest winners from the budget are overseas petroleum shareholders with proposed cuts in the company tax rate from 45-50% to 30%.

These are interesting choices by government given major cuts in key areas such as health, education and infrastructure, with further foreshadowed cuts of 11% in nominal terms and 37% in real terms from 2017 to 2021.

In stark contrast to the government’s claimed priorities, the real cuts to health are 29%, to education 18% and to transport 35%. Of course, key election elements are protected. For example, K20m is still provided to fund the “free health” policy.  This represents less than 2% of the total health budget and is miniscule relative to the K315m cut in health in this 2017 budget. The K20m “free health” policy is a smokescreen for the major cutbacks in health that are hurting church services and the level of assistance provided by health centres.  There is essentially no mechanism for distributing these funds down to rural clinics – so simply banning the collection of fees means that these clinics are forced to operate without basic medicines or to close down altogether. “Free health” becomes “No health”.

See also: http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/11/pngs-2017-budget-fiscally-fraudulent.html

PNG Economy – Forecasting Confusion Undermines Confidence but recession confirmed.

http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/11/png-economy-forecasting-confusion.html

LNG values are assumed to increase in the 2017 Budget by 16% while recent World Bank forecasts indicate a fall of 35%.

Using official BPNG figures, and updating them for the lower growth forecasts in the 2017 budget, a recession is confirmed: (using the measure most relevant for measuring progress on PNG’s living standards) real non-resource GDP per capita is expected to fall from K2,479 in 2013 to K2,282 in 201 7 this is a fall of 8% in average living standards in PNG.

According to official estimates from Treasury and BPNG, it will now take until past 2023 to get back to 2013 standards of living standards.

[For full article, see the url above]

 

Prepare for climate change: Cardinal

November 2, 2016 The National National

CARDINAL Sir John Ribat wants the Government and United Nations to make it a matter of policy that victims of climate change be given space for resettlement. He said Pacific Islands were experiencing climate change, rising sea level covering more land and land becoming too salty to grow crops. “Here in Papua New Guinea, we have an island, the Carteret Island (Bougainville), that is showing signs of this, part of the island has been washed away,” Sir John said. “People are living there but some of them have gone out of the island, some are staying there saying they want to remain on the island until whatever happens to them because they feel that they have been born there.
“We also have another island that is facing the same difficulty and that is Tuvalu.”
Sir John said Kiribati was also experiencing rising sea levels.
“We are seeing signs of this coming and we must prepare as a nation about how to accommodate our people whose islands are being washed away by rising sea level. How are we going to cater for them, not ourselves but those from the Pacific.” Sir John appealed to the developed nations to look into the situation to assist. “Our understanding of refugees, UN defines refugees as people who are running away from a situation in the country that forces them to come out and they name that as war that is affecting them,” he said. Sir John said global warming would be discussed in the 2018 Oceania Bishops Conference.

 

PNG needs more midwives

November 23, 2016 The National

THERE is a critical shortage of midwives in hospitals and clinics throughout the country, according to the president of the PNG Midwifery Society, Jennifer Pyakalyia.
Speaking at the start of a Midwifery Symposium of the society, Pyakalyia said that the country had about 700 midwives which were not enough considering the large number of vacancies in rural health facilities, and the increasing number of midwives reaching retirement age. “We need to train more midwives because their role is very critical if we want to improve the health indicators and improve the well-being of women.” Pyakalyia said that amidst the challenges midwives faced, there was no excuse to turn a blind eye to the many lives that were lost through pregnancy and childbirth because every woman had the right to a safe delivery.
“The incoming midwives are catalysts for change to bring improvement in the lives of women and infants so it is our vision to have at least one to two midwives in all the 89 districts which will provide up to 82 per cent of all the maternity care requirements for pregnant women,” she said.
She highlighted that in 2011-2015, 400 midwives graduated under an Australian government supported training programme, however, that number decreased in 2015 with the closure of the programme.

 

Surgery restores girl’s sight

November 25, 2016 The National

A BLIND six-year-old girl from the Trobriand Islands in Milne Bay had her sight restored this week following a successful cataract surgery aboard the YWAM Medical Ship, mv YWAM PNG.
The medical ship was on a collaborative outreach patrol to the Kiriwina-Goodenough district.
The young girl, Mandy, has been blind for the last three years from bilateral cataracts.
She could only see light and dark shades and was heavily dependent on family members for her everyday needs. Following the operation, Mandy was greeted by elated uncles, aunts, siblings, grandparents and friends – in tears and overjoyed by the result. Mandy chose her favourite pair of sunglasses and received distance and reading glasses before returning to her village following the surgery.

More girls in school: Kuman

November 25, 2016 The National

THE tuition fee free (TFF) policy has seen an increase in the enrolment of the female students in rural areas in the last four years, Education Minister Nick Kuman says. He told the newly-appointed National Education Board that it was one of the positive outcomes of the TFF policy and he urged them to work with the government to strengthen its policies to make education accessible and of standard.
“Our main focus as the government is first to give accessibility to our students of this country and we have seen in the last four years. We were tracking about 17 per cent growth in the enrolment we also saw an increase in our female students going to school, particularly in the rural parts of PNG.”
Kuman said a number of students continuing from Grade 8 to 12 had also increased.

 

Transferring HIV treatment to the PNG government: a good idea?

By Stephen Howes on October 31, 2016  http://devpolicy.org/transferring-hiv-treatment-png-government-good-idea-20161031/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=201246d92f-Devpolicy_News_November_4_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-201246d92f-227683090

Despite its size, Australian aid is rarely front page news in PNG. But it was earlier in the month when the Post-Courier ran a story that aid funding was to be cut to a number of NGOs providing HIV treatment and other health services. The story was based on a briefing note prepared by the affected NGOs outlining the impact of the foreshadowed cuts on their services. The Australian High Commission in Port Moresby responded (in the same article) that funding for HIV treatment would run to the middle of next year (no mention of whether there would be any respite for the providers of non-HIV reproductive health services). The statement also said that Australia was working with the PNG government to help it “better and more sustainably deliver health services, including HIV/AIDS and reproductive health programs.” The implicit expectation that the Australian government expects, or at least hopes, that the PNG government will pick up the tab after June 2017 is consistent with the statement in the September 2015 Australian aid PNG strategy (and reiterated as recently as last month) that “Our investments in HIV will progressively shift to PNG Government responsibility.”

I certainly recognise that Australian aid to PNG is small and faces many demands, only a few of which can be met. But I think the intention announced in the aid strategy, and apparently conveyed to the NGOs involved, to pass responsibility for funding HIV treatment to the PNG government is ill-considered. Indeed, as I argued in my presentation at the ACFID National Conference last week, it illustrates some of the ailments in the Australian aid program revealed by our 2015 Australian Aid Stakeholder Survey. [For the rest of this article – see the url above]

Even if PNG had the fiscal capacity to manage the HIV treatment program, institutional weaknesses should give pause prior to any transfer of responsibilities. The same Post Courier article that reported the cuts also noted the in-fighting in the National AIDS Council, and the dispute over its leadership.

And don’t forget that the Global Fund used to transfer its funding for HIV, TB and malaria to the PNG government, but a few years ago stopped doing that due to abuse. There is, sadly, little to show for the decades of effort and millions of dollars that the Australian aid program has invested in capacity building in PNG. And there is no reason to think that the current emphasis (in the 2014 strategy) on “system strengthening” and (in last month’s portfolio review) on “the development of core public health capacity” will fare any better.

A more realistic approach in a difficult environment such as PNG would be to build on success: to try different things and to stick with what works. If NGOs have been able to make effective use of aid funding to provide treatment to those with HIV, then keep funding them to do so. In the process, the aid program actually will be building the capacity of a range of service providers.

 

Archdiocese plans housing project

November 4, 2016 The National

THE Archdiocese of Rabaul in East New Britain plans to start a housing project for low income-earners. Archbishop Francesco Panfilo told an Islands region mayors conference in Kokopo on Wednesday that the project would benefit its employees. But he said it would also benefit the people who had worked in Kokopo for a long time and had proved to be faithful and reliable employees.
The archdiocese will make land available behind the Kokopo sports field for the project. It will also be responsible for surveying the land and funding infrastructure development such as drainage, roads, water and electricity. “We foresee the project to develop into three to four stages with the hope that at the end, we may have about 250 houses,” he said. Panfilo said there was also a need to protect the common areas, landmarks and urban landscapes which increased a sense of belonging, of rootedness, of “feeling at home” within a city.

 

All SABLs cancelled: O’Neill

November 7, 2016 The National

THE Government has cancelled all Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABL) due to irregularities in various land and forestry laws that allowed the devastation of forests, parliament has been told. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill urged the landowners to revisit the leases signed with companies and if possible negotiate better benefits. He was responding to a series of questions by Pomio MP Elias Kapavore in Parliament last Friday. Kapavore asked if the commission of inquiry report into the SABL would be tabled in Parliament and if the Government could consider landowners of forestry impacted areas being given similar benefits as those in the extractive industry.
O’Neill said the Government was still waiting on the final report from the commission members.
“We have received reports on SABL from two commissioners out of the three that were tasked to carry out this inquiry,” he said. “While waiting on last report, cabinet has taken some recommendations based on recommendations from the two commissioners who were able to lodge their report. “I am pleased to say that all the SABL leases to be cancelled, instruction has now gone to the Lands Dept and as of today (last Friday) I can assure you that leases are now being cancelled and where there are projects now existing, we’ve encouraged the landowners to renegotiate many of those leases arrangements that they have made with the developers.

Nissan islanders await reply

Post Courier, November 11, 2016,

AUTHORITIES are yet to respond to the plight of Nissan islanders in Bougainville who are facing a critical food shortage. Every day is a struggle for the children, mothers and their families to look for food. Some children have become victims, encountering accidents while in search for food.

According to an officer with the ABG department of community government that deals with the Bougainville disaster office, the last relief supplies delivered to the people was towards the end of 2015. No food suppliers had been delivered to them this year. No further comments could be obtained from the Bougainville Disaster Office because the head of the office is currently seeking medical treatment in Port Moresby.

 

Please help us

SCHOOL children are falling off trees in desperate search for food for Nissan islanders as climate change takes its toll on low-lying islands in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Relief supplies have not reached Nissan district, which comprises mostly atolls, despite repeated requested in the past 10 months, says Nehan community government member Conrad Willy. In June, a Grade Six student at Pinepal fell from a mangrove tree as she was picking the mangrove beans to eat, and was rushed by dinghy to Buka General Hospital, treated and discharged. Last Friday, Raphael Alben, 4 and a half years old, fell from a coconut tree and broke both arms while searching for young coconuts. Mr Willy warned that more children would be hurt as their parents send them out to look for food.

He said yesterday that the continuous call for relief aid for the people of Nissan District has fallen on deaf ears. Mr Willy said the people started facing food shortages towards the end of last year.

He said that numerous reports had been presented to the disaster relief office in Bougainville, the Community Government Office and Members of Parliament regarding the situation at the atolls, but they had not been addressed.

 

Man charged, detained for alleged sorcery killing

November 9, 2016 The National

ENGA police have charged a man with wilful murder and locked him up after he allegedly posted on Facebook photos of a woman being tortured, a hot iron rod being pushed into her private part and killed. The woman was alleged to have been practising sorcery. Police commander acting Superintendent George Kakas said pictures of the tortured woman on Facebook went viral and painted a bad picture of the province. He said that his investigation officers followed up on the posting and tracked the man down in Port Moresby. They arrested him last week and took him back to Wabag.
Kakas said the man from the Kombiam-Ambum district was charged with wilful murder and detained in Wabag. He said that his investigation team was collecting evidence. He said the Kombiam-Ambum district was known for sorcery-related killings and torture of innocent people which was a major concern. “Sorcery is not part of Enga’s culture, it’s adopted from outside people and their belief on sorcery is slowly growing roots in the province,” Kakas said.
Meanwhile, Kakas said that he formed a sorcery violence-related unit in the province this year to deal with any sorcery-related problems.

We are not denying citizens on nomination fees, says O’Neill

PNG Today / National Broadcasting Corporation

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says his government is not trying to deny the rights of Papua New Guineans to stand for public office. Responding in parliament to a series of questions concerning the proposed changes to the law to increase election nomination fees, Mr O’Neill said candidates who want to contest must sacrifice something because of the ever increasing costs of running elections in the country. “Now we are reaching close to K400 million to run the 2017 elections and the cost keeps on going up because the number of candidates is increasing,” he said. “So if candidates want to run for public office, there must be certain sacrifices we all have to make. One of them is cost.”

Mr O’Neill said the money will go back to the Electoral Commission help it conduct the election.

Opposition leader Don Polye says the opposition will take the government to court if parliament passes its proposal to increase the nomination fee from K1,000 to K10,000.

 

And a comment from Andrew Lattas:   The increase in the nomination fee from K1000 to K10,000 will further consolidate corruption in PNG. It will substantially help candidates supported and funded (either directly or indirectly) by foreign companies like RH which are appropriating land for logging and oil palm. It will help to exclude grass-roots activists who campaign against corrupt local members, activists who have limited financial resources.  The local landowner companies (a misnomer, for they represent select interests) are funded by the foreign developer and are active in supporting and mobilising votes for chosen candidates (e.g. Paul Tiensten now in jail and part of the Kitchen cabinet). These local landowner companies operate as a local shield to hide, defend and advance foreign interests. The increased nomination fee will force potential candidates to seek a powerful wealthy patron, and will help restrict the candidates to those who have such patronage.

 

Strong mood of patriotism courses through Bougainville 09 November 2016

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/11/strong-mood-of-patriotism-is-coursing-through-bougainville.html#more

THERE is a strong feeling of patriotism reverberating throughout the Autonomous Region of Bougainville as people become inspired about the prospect of choosing their political future.

“I have always been a strong advocate of participatory democracy where all parties through a consultative and consensually process agree on an issue,” said President John Momis. “In our case, there will be a referendum to decide our political future. “I have made the call that Bougainvilleans are leaders in their own right, we must not be followers who meekly become passive recipients of change. “We must actively participate in the referendum process and take responsibility for our actions,” he said. Dr Momis said all Bougainvilleans must help shoulder the burden that Bougainville is currently bearing and that the people must learn from the mistakes of the past as they work towards the future.

Dr Momis said that it is important that Bougainvilleans prepare well for the referendum: they must unite, be fiscally self-reliant, make Bougainville is weapons free, and ensure that good governance prevails. The Bougainville Peace Agreement is the legal framework that defines the parameters of Bougainville’s move towards forging a new political future. Dr Momis said there had been long standing animosity between the Bougainville and PNG governments on the implementation of the peace agreement because of development funds owed to Bougainville and the national government’s failure to help in the region’s capacity building. However both governments had agreed that 15 June 2019 will be the date of the referendum to be held on the future political status of Bougainville.

 

IMF puts true cost of APEC Summit at K3 Billion kina, to be financed largely by debt.

http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/10/imf-puts-true-cost-of-apec-summit-at-k3_27.html  by Lowy Institute
It was October 2013 when PNG was given the go ahead to host the 2018 APEC leaders’ meeting. At the time, Prime Minister O’Neill argued the event would deliver immense tourism and investment value by in elevating PNG on the global stage. The meeting, which brings together heads of state from 21 Pacific-facing nations including the US, China and Russia, is one of the few events on the annual international summit schedule that heads of state regularly attend. It is however, perhaps tellingly, most famous for decking leaders out in traditional, often colourful, attire.

Drawing up to 10,000 delegates and media for more than 180 planned meetings (as noted on page 46 of this budget document), the security, logistics and accommodation demands of the event are daunting for any city. Australians will no doubt remember the controversies surrounding Sydney’s 2007 APEC meeting, while last year’s Philippines APEC was also controversial and its value a source of debate. The challenges will be even more acute for Port Moresby, the 3rd least livable city of 140 measured by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

[See the URL above for the full article]

 

TIPNG wants to see SABL investigated

November 11, 2016 The National

Transparency International PNG hopes to see that the blatant injustice highlighted in the special agriculture business leases (SABL) commission of inquiry report are investigated and appropriate action taken against the perpetrators, “The SABLs are a national betrayal, a tragedy and news of its cancellation shines some ray of hope for landowners affected by the scheme,” Transparency International said in a statement. “The commission of inquiry into the SABLs findings produced detailed information of massive corruption, mismanagement and lack of coordination by key agencies including the departments of Lands and Physical Planning, Environment and Conservation, Agriculture and Livestock, Provincial Affairs and local level government, Investment Promotion Authority and the grant for forest clearance authority by the Papua New Guinea Forest Authority.
“The reports stated that the entire land management system in Papua New Guinea was in a mess and recommended that the apecial agriculture business lease process be done away with or a workable policy be formulated on SABL that benefits local landowners.” TIPNG said that back then, the SABL scheme was described by many including the prime minister as “a total failure to landowners” that involved a lot of illegalities. “Now that the Government has made a firm decision to cancel all SABLs, TIPNG calls for the political and administrative will from all departments and organisations responsible for rectifying the issue.”

A Litany of the Corrupt – Johnson Makaen

“If you can’t assure me of my money, you can wait a long time in the hall”

“It’s gavman payday so the staff usually get two and half hours for lunch”

“Highlands election is like coffee season, make money with little effort”

“Donated by Hon Con Artist MP” – Sign on district hospital ambulance

“My clansman is department head, so my claim will get the nod”

“If you want your paper work done, throw some lunch money at the clerk”

“First, I collect my 20% commission on the contract or I look elsewhere”

“I’m the CEO of this Department so I say my wantok gets hired”

“It’s simple, kiss my arse or get passed over for promotion”

“No fuel in the trooper so we can’t respond to your local crime”

“Need money for bride price or compensation? Come to me, your dedicated MP”

“Not much to do at the office so let’s chew buai, gossip and read the paper”

“You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours….

“As long as I remain as your Hon MP, your problem will always be mine”

 

Meeting focuses on addressing sorcery
Post Courier, November 15, 2016

THE Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) three days conference on sorcery and the Churches roles in addressing sorcery gets underway in Lae yesterday.

The conference is to hear from the churches their views and their role in addressing sorcery, a follow up of CLRC’s work on the review of the Sorcery Act of 1973 carried out in 2010- 2011 that resulted in the repeal of the Sorcery Act 1973 in 2013. Heads of churches and government departments all around the country attended the conference starting yesterday. It was highlighted at the conference that a study carried out by CLRC on sorcery and related violence in 2010 found out that many women were victims and survivors of sorcery and sorcery related violence.

CLRC said it was then recommended that the Sorcery Act 1971 be repealed and the churches deal with sorcery given, it is a belief system. “In 2013, Parliament repealed the Sorcery Act 1971 as deterrence measure to address the heinous and tortuous violence subjected to citizens suspected of practicing sorcery, particularly the women and the vulnerable,” according to CLRC.

Unfortunately, the legal measure was not effective as Sorcery related violence and killings continued to increase at an alarming rate. “This prompted the National Government to establish the Sorcery National Action Plan (SNAP) in 2015 aimed at addressing the increasing related violence and killing. The SNAP codes are; advocacy and counseling, health, legislative review, and research.”

According to CLRC, the SNAP Committee comprises of key government agencies headed by the Department of Justice and Attorney General and CLRC is a member of the SNAP Committee and its endeavor to address the issue of Sorcery related violence and killings including gender based violence, with the support of United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) who hosted the 3 days conference to hear from Church Leaders and their views and experiences on this pressuring issue.

With the theme of the Conference ‘Churches’ role in addressing sorcery’, they anticipated that this forum will provide valuable insights to assist CLRC and the SNAP develop appropriate policies and legal frameworks to address Sorcery and its related violence and killings, including gender based violence.

 

Diabetes prevalent in PNG communities
Post Courier, November 15,2016, 02:14 am

MORE than 3000 people die from diabetes every year, according to the World Health Organisation.

Globally, diabetes is a growing epidemic among non-communicable diseases and a significant number of cases remained undetected. According to WHO officer-in-charge in PNG Dr Paulinus Sikosana, the latest WHO estimates show the prevalence of diabetes in Papua New Guinea is 11.8 per cent (11.9 per cent for men and 11.6 per cent for women. It is also estimated that one in two people remained undiagnosed, making them particularly susceptible to complications.

These alarming figures were revealed yesterday marking the annual World Diabetes Day celebrations in Port Moresby. As part of the event, WHO and the Health Department set up on-site treatment for diabetes patients at Jack Pidik Park. This year’s theme was Eye’s on Diabetes. Dr Sikosana said: “Going beyond the figures, we must develop policies for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases to address the unhealthy behaviour of people including tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. We need an effective public health policy instrument that consists of a series of multisector interventions which aim at improving population diet and physical activity and changes risky habits.”

 

PNG among world’s highest gender violence, sorcery killing
Post Courier, November 18, 2016

PAPUA New Guinea has one of the world’s highest rates of gender violence and sorcery killing.

This is according United Nation Population Fund (UNPF) program analyst Steven Paniu at a gender violence conference in Lae. “From our little data that we have collected on gender violence and sorcery killing especially against women, the result is alarming, PNG is one of the countries with a high number of violence against women cases in 2016,” Mr Paniu said. He said from a research conducted at Divine Word University, two out of three women experience violence daily, from another survey and research carried out in Bougainville, 61.9 per cent of men do admit violence again women. These are reported cases and do not include the unreported ones, especially in the remote areas. “A lots of mothers and women who are victims of abuse and violence find it hard to go to police stations for they fear their lives, if they do report their husbands might do more harm to them, or even kill them, and that is the biggest fear that becomes a barrier for women who are victims of violence going to police stations and report,” Mr Paniu said.

In addition, PNG Tropical Foundation deputy director Ruth Kisam said the Highlands region was the main area in the country with women becoming victims of violence. “W have rolled out awareness programs on gender violence and recently into awareness on sorcery related killings, for sorcerers killed or burned to death are mainly women and girls,” she said.

 

Health survey rollout not going well
Post Courier, November 18,2016, 02:53 am

THE third National Demographic and Health Survey project currently rolled out in the provinces is not progressing well as anticipated. The project which is conducted every ten years by the Department of National Planning and Monitoring, with one of its key divisions, National Statistical Office, has not kept up with payments for interview enumerators. Interviewers, who signed a 90-day contract with NSO, were volunteers who had gone on board on the understanding that their consecutive allowances would be paid in fortnightly installments but this had not happened and the project was stagnating in limbo. An interviewer, who cannot reveal his identity, said they had signed their contracts on merit and in good faith however, NSO had not lived up its agreement.

The National Demographic and Health Survey is conducted every ten years, the first in 1996, the second in 2006 and third this year 2016.

 

Canadian Mining’s Dark Heart

Tallying the human cost of gold in one of the most remote places on Earth

https://thewalrus.ca/canadian-minings-dark-heart/ By Richard Poplak  Oct. 24, 2016

Even in the best of circumstances, PNG is not renowned for law and order. But this was a gold rush, and in the absence of state enforcement, Placer/Barrick tried to curtail incursions with a combined corps of police and hired guards. The illegal miners would not be so easily curtailed. And so the locals and PJV’s security apparatus went to war. It appears that sexual violence had been perpetrated on an industrial scale. …. [For those interested, see the url above]

 

If we want to change PNG, we first must change the boys’ club

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/11/if-we-want-to-change-png-we-first-must-change-the-boys-club.html  21 November.

[See the url above.]

 

Office focuses on tackling online violence
Post Courier, November 22, 2016

THE Office of Censorship has directed its focus to tackling online violence and child abuse. Chief Censor Steven Mala has highlighted that given the modern environment, it was time to think of online violence because the psychological violence is greater than physical violence. “Here in PNG, the Office of Censorship has striven to provide online protection to our children from unsolicited materials, sex abuse, trafficking and portrayal of children for commercial benefits,” he said. Mr Mala said that every year children had become victims of untold violence and faced various forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and danger. One form of abuse was online abuse which was what the Office of Censorship was focusing on in its respective awareness programs nationwide. “Our children today are being exposed to undesirable programs through television broadcasting, radio broadcasting and the daily indecent language used on the street. “We want to ensure that information flowing through the internet is clean and safe when our children are accessing it; we want them to grow with a healthy attitude toward the use of internet so they can better understand it and use it to their benefits and not to abuse the knowledge of internet or technology when they grow up. “Because of this we are working towards implementing a program that can provide the country with a clean Internet feed – which is the Internet Filtering System currently in progress,” Mr Mala said.

 

Plan aims to fight sorcery violence
Post Courier, November 22, 2016

AN ACTION plan aimed at overcoming sorcery related violence will soon be ready for implementation but much support is needed on the national front. A three day conference held in Lae last week by the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission saw representatives from the government, faith based organisations and other non-governmental entities converge to tackle the issue. Long serving Catholic priest Father Philip Gibbs who has committed much of his time to countering the ill effects of sorcery said during the conference that the Sorcery National Action Plan (SNAP) was just about ready but needed much support. The action plan dubbed SNAP, focuses on five strategic outcome bases. “SNAP will see us focus on counselling those who have already experienced sorcery related incidents, education for the already identified communities with highest rate of incidence, health for general understanding of the unnecessary loss of life, law and order to better control the violence wrought from such practices and research to better track the effectiveness of the SNAP efforts,” Father Philip said.   He said that in order to implement the plan, much work was required and with that monetary support. He said that the government’s current fiscal predicament meant that financial support must be sourced from supporting agencies which were willing to overcome this serious endemic. Fr Philip said churches, Health Department, Education Department, research facilities, and faith-based organisations and interested NGOs must come together and provide support financially and on the human resource front. “At the moment, because of the financial constraints, we are looking for organisations and entities that are willing to provide people or finances, not for profit or gain but for the purposes of seeing our action plan carried out.”

 

 

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