Social Concerns Notes – December 2016

Respect builds safe society, says Parkop

December 13, 2016 The National

NATIONAL Capital District Governor Powes Parkop says respect is the value that can build a safe society. “In the past, men respect women as it is part of our culture,” he said. Parkop said this was no longer the case today as men had adopted a culture of not respecting women and girls. “Women are human beings. They are not subjects or some kind of creature that can be accused of sorcery, raped, or you do things to them at any time as you please,” he said.
“We are not fruits that fell from a tree or people who came from animals,” he said.
“We came from women and we should show them the greatest respect.
“Our culture is to respect women. “We have adopted a culture that is unacceptable and contrary to human dignity and we need to put an end to it.

Police yet to quell Tari fighting due to lack of funds
Post Courier, December 15, 2016

THE under siege Tari, capital of Hela Province, remains in a stalemate with police unable to mobilise firepower and resources as yet to quell uncontrolled tribal fighting, mayhem and destruction to property there. Police Commissioner Gari Baki yesterday held urgent meetings with his operational commanders citing lack of funding and logistics preventing any rapid deployment by personnel to deal with the situation. The National Security Advisory Council has also discussed the situation and given directions on what urgent actions the police should take. The National Airports Corporation is not budging in re-opening the airport because of the chaotic situation and unpredictability of safety of commercial aircraft and staff. Acting police commander Inspector Daniel Yangen confirmed the stalemate issuing cautions that combatant groups were re-grouping to continue fighting. “Rumours have also spread that the other factions are regrouping and police are keeping watch on possible areas the warring tribes may attack. “Injured victims are scared to receive treatment at Tari Hospital as they feared being attacked and killed,” he said.

 

Volunteer programme leaves a lasting legacy for young people

Post Courier, December 12, 2016

In Papua New Guinea, young people make up almost half of the urban poor population. Within the region, the World Bank has estimated that 70-80 per cent of young people were unemployed, with studies indicating that urban youth were adversely affected by high levels of poverty.

Studies also showed that young people engage in risky activities such as crime, drugs, alcohol and violence as a result of inequalities. As part of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup legacy, young people from 20 settlements in Port Moresby were engaged in a three-month training and work experience programme, which has given them hands-on work experience, exposure to a workplace setting and life skills training in health and hygiene, financial management and communication.

As part of the training, volunteers engaged in a workshop on ending violence. The training was part of a broader campaign being delivered alongside the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup with the aim of developing respect, understanding and tolerance among girls and boys, women and men and the community as a whole, with the overall goal of reducing risk factors associated with gender-based violence in the Pacific. Fifty of the 1,000 volunteers will be selected following the tournament to be #ENDviolence ambassadors in their communities. They will receive further training and support a broad-based community awareness campaign in the 20 shanty towns of Port Moresby in the months following the competition.

 

NEC approves bid to tackle GBV
Post Courier December 16, 2016

THE National Executive Council (NEC) has approved the long-awaited National Strategic Paper on Gender-based Violence, drawing praise from gender advocates and women leaders. The document is a framework to guide the Government to tackle the problem in the country where GBV rates remain some of the highest in the world.

The paper was presented to the NEC by the Community Development Minister Delilah Gore. She confirmed when contacted by the Post-Courier yesterday afternoon that the Cabinet had approved the paper. The establishment of a special parliamentary committee on GBV and a national GBV council and secretariat – with similar functions to the National AIDS Council Secretariat which was set up to coordinate government and donor efforts to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS– is part of the national strategy.

 

PNG LNG landowner royalties – why so long?

By Sam Koim and Stephen Howes on December 16, 2016

http://devpolicy.org/png-lng-landowner-royalties-long-20161216/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=88251da2d4-Devpolicy_News_December_16_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-88251da2d4-227683090

The recent protests by Hela landowners and their latest ultimatum in relation to their non-receipt of royalties and other benefits have the potential to derail PNG’s prestigious and important LNG project. But they also beg the question: how did it come to this? How is it that after more than 200 ships of LNG have left PNG’s shores no royalties have been paid to landowners? How can the situation be resolved, and what are the implications for future projects?

For the rest of this interesting article see the url above. It treats topics such as social mapping and landowner identification studies, clan vetting process, the judicial process, and the present stalemate.

 

Advocating for women in Porgera: an interview with Everlyne Sap

By Camilla Burkot and Everlyne Sap on December 9, 2016

http://devpolicy.org/advocating-for-women-in-porgera-an-interview-with-everlyne-sap-20161209/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=88251da2d4-Devpolicy_News_December_16_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-88251da2d4-227683090

It is well known that gender-based and sexual violence are major problems facing Papua New Guinea. What is less widely recognized are the grassroots efforts underway to combat these problems, and the individuals leading those efforts. Everlyne Sap is one of those individuals. She is a gender advocate and chairperson of the Family and Sexual Violence Steering Committee of the Restorative Justice Initiative Association (RJIA) at Porgera in Enga Province, PNG. Camilla Burkot interviewed Everlyne during the State of the Pacific 2016 conference. You can listen to the podcast here, and read the full transcript here [pdf].

 

Quality education? It’s a thing of the past in most of PNG

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/12/quality-education-its-a-thing-of-the-past-in-most-of-png.html#more   15 December 2016     Bomail D Witne

STRUCTURAL and curriculum reforms at lower levels of the education system have established a foundation that will shatter the dreams of children in public schools. Elementary schools were introduced in the absence of a proper curriculum and a sufficient number of trained teachers. Many elementary school students in public schools just sing Christian songs all day. Not even their own songs; teachers don’t know them. Some elementary students graduate without being able to understand the difference between a ‘tree’ and ‘three’. They’re often taught in three languages – English, Pidgin and the local vernacular – which seems progressive but it’s done in an unsystematic way. And then the children move on to Grade 3, leaving the teachers at that level to pick up the pieces.

 

What used to be community or primary schools were rebranded ‘top-up primary’, meaning they were permitted to continue to Grades 7 and 8 and take students from other primary schools.

Prior to the ‘reform’, these students would sit a competitive national Grade 6 examination to graduate into high schools – and they were taught by teachers trained at that level. Since the ‘reform’, the Grade 6 examinations are no more. What the so-called reform did was to allow primary teachers to instruct at Grade 7 and 8, which used to be the province of trained high school teachers. This was the beginning of a new learning experience for both teachers and students. Increasing enrolments as a result of the government’s ‘tuition fee free’ policy led to a shortage of classroom space as well as learning materials. So the ill-trained, ill-equipped Grade 8 teachers do what they can. They have a deadline to meet and so the students graduate are left to the Grade 9 teachers in secondary schools who are expected to pick up the pieces.

 

Forgotten – the vulnerable populations of Papua New Guinea

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/12/forgotten-the-vulnerable-populations-of-papua-new-guinea.html#more

The majority of Papua New Guineans live in rural areas and spend most of their time involved in subsistence gardening or fishing or other economic activities to sustain their livelihoods. They have access to safe drinking water, food and a place to sleep. But this way of life changes drastically when a natural disaster occurs and what is normal is no longer there to sustain their existence. PNG is situated along a volatile seismic band known as the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ which makes it susceptible to natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. Other disasters include droughts, floods, landslides, tropical cyclones and king tides. When natural disasters occur, sometimes affected communities adapt to the conditions but in other cases life is never the same. These are the vulnerable populations in emergency situations.

In PNG’s history, one of the worst natural disasters occurred on 17 July 1998 when a tsunami struck near Aitape in the West Sepik Province and proved to be one of the deadliest on record. The tsunami devastated the villages of Sisano, Warupu, Arop and Malol and more than 2,000 people lost their lives. The 10,000 people who were affected and survived were clearly vulnerable. While many moved on with their lives, others had to make the bold decision to move.

Tavurvur and Manam are PNG’s most active volcanoes. Mount Tavurvur, erupted in 2014 and also recorded eruptions in 2013, 2011, 2010, 2006, 2005 and 2002. The most notable eruption occurred in 1994 and affected many people living in East New Britain. It was a devastating time in which people lost their homes and food gardens and had no access to safe drinking water. Evacuation programs were implemented which assisted people recover and make new homes away from their traditional villages.

Manam Island in Madang Province experienced similar devastation in 2004 when its volcano erupted. The Manam islanders’ situation was far from being a success story. Almost 10,000 residents were evacuated to care centres on the mainland where they have now been living for over nine years.

Many social issues have also emerged as they struggle to live their lives – an example of a vulnerable population. The natural disasters experienced in PNG mostly occur unexpectedly and nearly all have devastating effects.

 

PNG’s 2017 Revenue Forecasts – A Detailed Analysis

http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/12/pngs-2017-revenue-forecasts-detailed.html.   Paul Flanagan.

PNG’s revenue collapse is likely to continue with estimated additional shortfalls of K1.5 billion for both 2016 and 2017. This will add to the budget deficit, debt levels and financing pressures.

The major reason for this collapse in revenues is not the fall in international commodity prices The reason is the fall in domestic tax collections as a result of PNG’s domestic recession.There have already been enough expenditure cuts in key sectors between 2015 and 2017 (a 52% real cut in infrastructure, 45% in education and 40% in health with large on-going cuts already planned in future years).

Better policies are needed to restart growth and additional tax measures should be considered.

In 2014, it was forecast that 2017 PNG revenues (so excluding international grants and after adjusting for accounting changes) would total K15.2 billion. This has fallen in each subsequent budget so that by the time of the 2017 budget these were K4.7 billion lower than initially forecast – a drop of 31%. And if we look at 2018 figures the fall is K6.3 billion or 38% from expectations of 2014.

The 2015 budget removed K3.3 billion in resource revenues even prior to the fall in commodity prices. This is the K3.3 billion “missing revenues” referred to in the much condemned but broadly accurate blog (see here) predicting the fall in oil prices would hurt revenues and the balance of payments. This early diversion accounts for 22% of the total revenue fall. Too much emphasis has been placed on cutting expenditures in key sectors such as health, education and infrastructure (and not enough on administrative costs or constituency funds).

[For the rest of this article, see the url above]

 

Bougainville youth have historic role in building its future

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/12/bougainville-youth-have-historic-role-in-building-its-future.html#more 19 December 2016

BOUGAINVILLE’S future depends on the ability of its young generation as it will increasingly engage with the global community, says chief secretary Joseph Nobetau, who is encouraging young Bougainvilleans to play a bigger role in the province’s future.

“You are not tarnished by history or prejudice – your journey is just beginning,” Mr Nobetau told a recent graduation ceremony. “As young people you each have a role in writing part of our future. “You have the opportunity to take on leadership roles and help build a stronger, united and more prosperous future for us all. “You can do this regardless of the path that you choose to take, whether as young corporate leaders, public servants, community leaders, academics, members of your church and so on.” Mr Nobetau said that by committing to a collective future, youth can play an important role and he was confident they will make a significant contribution. “Ask yourselves what you have done to demonstrate leadership and ask yourselves what you can do in the future. “As young Bougainvilleans I have faith that all of you will make a very significant contribution.”

 

The sad story of Investigation Task Force Sweep

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/12/the-sad-story-of-investigation-task-force-sweep.html#more 20 December 2016   Bal Kama

A LETTER to prime minister Peter O’Neill on the morning of 16 June 2014 started off what would become the most controversial anti-corruption story in the history of Papua New Guinea. Then police commissioner Tom Kulunga requested that O’Neill attend a police interview on allegations of fraud regarding payments of an estimated K71 million by the State to a national law firm, Paul Paraka Lawyers. But the scheduled interview never happened.

For many years, PNG has faced allegations of corruption and often ranked unfavourably in corruption indexes. In 2012, O’Neill promised to address the issue and, to his credit, established the Investigation Task Force Sweep (ITFS). ITFS was an inter-organisation agency that included the Police Fraud Squad. Little did the prime minister know that he himself would become a person of interest, engulfing a considerable amount of ITFS work. But the case against O’Neill was never going to be easy. Since it began, two and a half years ago, a series of convoluted legal cases have jammed the path of the investigators. An interview, let alone any resolution of the serious allegations of fraud against the prime minister, now looks unlikely in light of recent national court judgements against ITFS.

I want to briefly reflect on the most significant court cases against the ITFS this year and assess their implications for anti-corruption efforts in PNG.

The first significant case was in February 2016. The issue was whether or not members of the Fraud Squad (itself part of ITFS) should engage the service of private lawyers instead of the state prosecutors. The prime minister argued that members of the Fraud Squad should engage the service of state prosecutors because they are acting in their capacity as police officers. Further, it was argued that the Attorney-General Act 1989 (PNG) prevents brief-outs to private lawyers unless approved by the Attorney-General and that approval was not given. The Fraud Squad, however, questioned the neutrality of the state prosecutors in light of the successive appointments of Police Commissioners and the consensus among the lawyers acting for the police and the Prime Minister as evidence of a concerted effort to frustrate the case. They argued, inter alia, that the engagement of private lawyers was to ensure that the case against the PM is not derailed or suppressed as often seen in many high-profile cases in PNG.

[For the rest of this instructive article, see the url above.]

600 neglected and homeless children

Post Courier, December 23, 2016

PORT Moresby, capital of PNG with a population of one million people, shockingly has 600 homeless children. This ugly truth came to light when local humanitarian organisation Life PNG Care conducted its annual “Kilo of Kindness Christmas Programme”. The program is an annual event where the organisation go out to certain locations in the city and invite unfortunate children to go to them and have a hot meal and receive a Christmas gift. Life PNG Care director Collin Pakerevealed this yesterday saying many organisations had endeavoured to help the growing number of unfortunate children who live on the streets but few actually go out to assess and bring out changes in the lives of these neglected children. These children, more than 5000 of them, are the invisible generation that our government is neglecting. “There are so many children on the streets now and the number is only growing with each year.

“The Pikinini Act of 2009 clearly highlights that children unattended to should by right, be taken care of by the government. “We cannot keep on lying because the evidence is irrefutable and at our door step,” MrPake said. Post-Courier found – boy in the tunnel- Jerry Owaamong the other children who happily had a meal at Five-Mile recreational park. The program started at Five-Mile at 4pm, then Boroko at 5pm and Koki-Ela Beach at 6pm.

 

Cuban doctors to assist ten district hospitals
Post Courier, November 28, 2016

UP to 30 primary health doctors from Cuba will be deployed in 10 district hospitals during the next three months. There would also be an immediate deployment of a cancer specialist at Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, and employment of some biomedical technologists. Cuba would also provide professors to the proposed new stand alone and revived School of Medicine and Health Science that would be done by the Government and be called “PNG Medical & Health Sciences University”.

These arrangements and more were made possible through a Cuba-PNG Health Diplomacy; a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed last Wednesday between the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the governments of PNG and Cuba in Havana during Mr O’Neill’s official visit.

The MOU also includes other following categories:

  • Cuba would assist in health research and collaboration. Assist PNG in training PNG Medical University post-graduate students in Masters and Post-Masters training. Assist to train our biomedical technologist and others in health;
  • Cuba to assist PNG with medical drugs and vaccines for general medical diseases and non-communicable drugs in diabetes, cancer and hypertension. Assist PNG with medical supplies and diagnostic technologies;
  • Cuba to assist PNG with health information and technology; and
  • Cuban to assist PNG with asset and infrastructure development.

 

Transparency needed on Seabed mining
Post Courier, November 25, 2016

Some non-governmental organisations are concerned about the lack of transparency behind the world’s first seabed mining project set to begin operations in 2018 in the Bismarck Sea. It was claimed yesterday that Canadian company Nautilus Minerals, responsible for the project dubbed Solwara1, had kept its operations and plans secret from the Papua New Guinea public.

“We are not saying that the project is some evil thing that is utterly bad, all we hope to have is a report and if possible a second opinion on what environmental impacts could be wrought from the project,” she said. Ms Tony said that there remained strong opposition to the project among local communities and environmentalists, the World Bank included.

According to Mr Mesulam, “Nautilus does not have the consent of local communities. We still don’t know what the impacts of this experimental mining will be.

According to Minster Chan, PNG stands to gain US124million from the mining project, and describes the expected environmental impacts of the project to be “relatively small”.

 

Doctor calls on govt to upgrade rural maternal facilities

December 1, 2016 The National

A SENIOR doctor has urged the Government to upgrade birth units in rural health facilities and to equip them properly. Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at PNG’s School of Medicine Professor Glen Mola said the Government’s plan to address maternal and newborn deaths by making it compulsory for women to give birth in proper health facilities needed to be carefully thought through.
He said it was important that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill discussed such issues more with local maternity care professionals to help strategise the goal of supervised births to reduce maternal and infant deaths.
“There are about 260,000 births every year in PNG,” Mola told The National via email.
“Of these, about 104,000 women come to health facilities to have a professionally supervised birth.
“But this also means that 156,000 women deliver their babies in their villages without professional assistance. “If we are to reduce the risk of maternal and newborn deaths, the parts of the health system that the prime minister says he is planning to bring the women for supervised births in (urban) hospitals are already overstretched and many are unable to cope with the numbers.”
Mola said the Government should up-skill community health workers and nurses to provide quality birth care for women in rural health facilities. He said more doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers should be trained to provide quality healthcare for the expanded rural health service to enable the majority of women to access supervised care close to their villages.

5000 bench warrants pending
Post Courier, December 01, 2016

FIVE thousand bench warrants are outstanding in Papua New Guinea. This was revealed by the country’s Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia who said that bench warrants did not include the warrants of arrest issued by the district courts of the Magisterial Services.

Sir Salamo said that 60 to 70 per cent of these 5000 bench warrants were from National Court crime cases. “The oldest bench warrant goes back to 1983 and 1984.

 

More than 40,000 living with HIV

Post Courier, December 01, 2016.

MORE than 40,000 people are living with HIV and at least half of them are receiving lifesaving antiretroviral drugs provided free of charge by the Government. The Health Department said that between 2001 and 2011, the rate of new HIV infections in PNG fell by 53 precent and the death rate among people living with HIV are on antiretroviral drugs (ART) earlier. Despite this, more than 2000 people are diagnosed with HIV each year while many people still do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others and stigma and discrimination remained a reality for many people living with the condition.

Health Secretary Pasco Kase says while HIV and AIDS remained a health problem and the risk factors for contracting the virus still existed, the number of people affected by HIV had not reached the very high levels initially feared. This was due, in part, to an increasingly co-ordinated and co-operative approach to responding to HIV. Health Minister Michael Malabag said early PNG projections estimated that the HIV prevalence among the adult population would reach more than 5 per cent but improvements in the scale up of our HIV testing and surveillance in the past 10 years had demonstrated that HIV had had limited impact as a whole with the current national prevalence rate of 0.8 per cent reported last year. Further recent evidence suggested that the epidemic was concentrated in key populations with HIV prevalence among this group estimated at more than 15 times the national average. There was also recent evidence showing the prevalence in certain provinces like the National Capital District and Highlands provinces going over the 1 per cent mark. This meant that the epidemic was generalised in these provinces.

 

Trump and the PNG 2017 elections

By Bal Kama on November 25, 2016

http://devpolicy.org/trump-and-the-png-2017-elections-20161125/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=93818d5143-Devpolicy_News_December_02_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-93818d5143-227683090

Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President of America took the world by surprise. It was certainly one of the defining moments of the 21st century. Many assumed the United States would continue to herald liberalism, led by the ‘establishment,’ an almost unassailable cohort of conglomerates and political high flyers apparently interested in safeguarding the status quo and advancing the ideals of the democratic world. By their standards, Trump is an outsider. But he unexpectedly found favour with those disenfranchised with the liberal ideal. His election may not be one of celebration for those in the Pacific region, especially given his reluctance to act on US commitments to climate change and regional treaty obligations. But it should rouse some rethinking in our traditional assumptions of domestic politics.

Papua New Guinea’s 2017 National Elections will be an event to watch closely. How will it affect the current political ‘establishment’? PNG has always had a high turnover of politicians [pdf] and this trend will certainly continue, but this time with more zeal and purpose. It will be a test especially for those who have clung to political power and have well-established links. Trump’s election is an outcome of voters disillusioned with the status quo.

Unlike previous elections in PNG, many voters in 2017 will be more informed. Politicians have often been accused of maintaining their grip on power by bribing or deploying ‘sweet policies’ to entice the voters. While both strategies will undeniably be at play, voters will mostly likely be persuaded by a deeper conviction for change. Like the US elections, many PNG voters will most likely call for change on the back of someone ‘new’, someone who appears to be free from corruption. That is already evident in social media discussions.

At the district and provincial level, voters may be reminded of the complacency of their political leaders on these national issues and question the continued lack of development despite much-increased funding allocations under the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) and Provincial Support Improvement Program (PSIP). It remains a serious question whether security would be sufficient to allow a free and fair election given the lack of funding for the PNG electoral commission. And the massive DSIP and PSIP allocations may give incumbents a greater advantage than they earlier enjoyed.

The 2017 PNG election is an opportunity for change. Like the Trump story, it is likely that the election will breed a new generation of leaders for PNG. Breeding new leadership is not always bad if it serves as a reminder to those already in power not to get too comfortable in their seats and forget the very purpose of their mandate.

 

PNG one of world’s most ‘fragile’ nations says report

05 December 2016

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/12/png-is-one-of-the-worlds-most-fragile-nations-says-oecd-report.html#more

THREE of the world’s most fragile countries are on Australia’s doorstep, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that implores the international community to maintain its aid commitments. The OECD’s States of ‘Fragility 2016: Understanding Violence’ report identifies 56 countries or regions as being fragile based on how exposed they are to risks like economic shock, youth unemployment, disease, corruption, crime and violence. Three of Australia’s closest neighbours – Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste (East Timor) – are assessed as fragile.

PNG is rated as more fragile than countries that have endured recent coup attempts such as Egypt, Libya and Burkina Faso. The report calls on the international community to provide adequate, long-term development assistance for these countries and focus funding on the real drivers of fragility. It also wants countries to develop better financing strategies. According to the report, PNG and Timor-Leste are more vulnerable to political risks, while the Solomon Islands most substantial vulnerability is to environmental and health risks. Together with Indonesia, these three countries represent the largest four recipients of Australian aid. PNG was given $554.5 million in 2015-16, the Solomon Islands $175.9 million and Timor-Leste $95.3 million.

Despite ongoing conflict from West Papuans over Indonesian rule, Indonesia was not deemed fragile by the OECD.

 

Church decries demand for land compensation

December 5, 2016 The National

THE Catholic Church does not entertain or pay compensation to landowner groups for services it is providing on their land, according to Mt Hagen archdiocese’s archbishop Douglas Young.
He told the Kumdi tribe, which owns the land on which the Notre Dame Girls Secondary School in Baiyer, Western Highlands, is located, that people must stop thinking that the church would pay compensation for their land. The tribe organised a reconciliation ceremony last Tuesday to say sorry for locking the gates to the school. They apologised to Young, the Catholic Church, parents and students for demanding land compensation.
Their demand for compensation began in 2010.
This year, after the Term One break, the landowners refused to allow anyone into the school.
Young explained to them that the church had never paid compensation to landowners.
“I’m talking about the world, not only here. The Catholic Church does not pay anything to anyone as land compensation,” he said. “Anyone who thinks that the Catholic Church will pay compensation for the land at Kumdi is wrong because the Church does not get involved in that.” He said people must understand that the church was helping the Government by providing schools, health services and job opportunities. “You should raise your concern with the Government – not with the church,” Young said.

Evicted settlers face difficulty in resettling

December 5, 2016 The National

MORE than 3000 settlers from Morata One in the National Capital District were forcefully evicted by the city authority to allow construction of a new road from Gerehu to Waigani. The evicted settlers were now finding it hard to resettle and start a new life again after their homes and properties were destroyed by the city authority last week. Morata One committee leader Eric Steven said National Capital District Commission (NCDC) failed to allocate new land or pay them compensation to start a new living prior to destroying their homes and properties and forcefully evicting them. “We have been living in that piece of land for almost two generations now because it’s a customary land and not state land,” Steven told The National. “However, we were issued a stop- work notice by NCDC on Aug 23, 2016 and a week later on Aug 30, 2016 we were issued a demolition notice. “There was no eviction notice and now more than 120 houses were demolished, which include rent houses and about 3500 people are displaced and we are helpless.

Disability does not stop young Cornelius

Post Courier, December 7, 2016

HE was born with a medical condition known as cerebral palsy, but that did not stop him from developing his passion in computer graphics. Twelve-year-old Cornelius, also known as Datii Yalamu, from Lae-Madang-Goroka parents, may have difficulty in walking but he has dreams, hopes and ideas he wanted to share on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities at Cheshire disability Services compound at Hohola, in Port Moresby. According to his father Philemon Yalamu, Cornelius was taught how to use a computer at the age of three, and although not at school is familiar with anything to do with digital graphic artist programs, Photoshop, and other office work programs to do with typing. He knows them all, very well. “As parents, it was a challenge for my wife and I but we never gave up and thought beyond his disability to make him do things like an able bodied child would do, think out of the box and try to come up with creative ways to help Cornelius.

“He does all this with his legs and toes because we believe that he has the potential and ability to do so,” he said.

Cornelius can create invitation cards for birthdays and other events using the graphic design software, Adobe Photoshop and other programs. He uses his toes to do all the typing for the various programs that are in the computer.

 

Arawa hospital in dire need of medical supplies
Post Courier, December 07, 2016

ARAWA hospital in Central Bougainville is in dire need of medical supplies, Dr Joe Vilosi said yesterday. Dr Vilosi said that the hospital is also unable to attend to emergency cases as whatever limited stock left is being reserved only for desperate cases where a patient is about to lose his or her life. He iterated that the Government must respond quickly to the matter and see health as a priority because without proper health facilities in Bougainville, the dreams and aspirations of Bougainville will turn to dust. Dr Vilosi said the full autonomy depends on a healthy workforce therefore without a healthy workforce there will be a sick Government. The onus is now on the Government to intervene and address the situation in which the Arawa Hospital is in without medical supplies and see it fixed immediately.

 

Muddle to leave hospital

Post Courier December 07, 2016

PAPUA New Guinea’s biggest referral hospital has transformed during the past three years under the leadership of chief executive officer Grant Muddle as he prepares to leave this month.

The hospital will regret his departure over suggestions that he was too expensive to keep. Mr Muddle spoke yesterday of how he had changed the hospital by enforcing existing rules that had not been enforced before for various reasons. He said that from 2013, when he arrived, to this year, hospital admissions were 23,000 and in 2016 admission has climbed to 45,000. In 2013 the hospital saw 66,800 hospital outpatient consultants and in 2016 consultants numbers increased to 170,000, that is, 100,000 more consultants. Roughly, the hospital sees 680 patients at its outpatient clinic daily.

“Patients are fixed faster, we have gone from an average length of stay of 20 days to 8.6 days, which is less strain on the public health system, people are much healthier and return home or work to become more productive,” he said. “Death rates at the hospital were 5.2 per cent in 2013 and in 2016 the rate is at 2.8 per cent. It is important to remember that the people that come here are very sick, extremely medically and surgically unwell and the hospital tries their best to keep everyone alive,” Mr Muddle said.

 

TFF funds has not been paid as planned
Post Courier, December 07, 2016

THE Government’s ambitious Tuition Fee Free (TFF) money have not been received freely and on time as planned. A lot of school administrations are confused about partial dispatches of fees during the year as the last dispatch is due this Friday when many schools have already closed for the academic year. Last week, the Government announced that it would remit the last lot of TFF money – that is K113 million – for schools. This announcement comes late as many schools have rising debts to pay and others are still looking into their accounts for the arrival of any money.

In Kimbe, West New Britain, Catholic Education Secretary Silpaga John Francis said yesterday that as far as the Catholic Church agency in the province was concerned, more than half of the 300 schools in the province had not received their full tuition fees promised. He could not specify the exact amount owed to the schools. The Catholic Church agency in the province has the biggest number of schools which is 163. These schools have not received their fees for the last batch and the earlier batch.

 

Child sexual abuse high

Post Courier, December 09, 2016

SHOCKING increase in the number of child sexual abuse in the National Capital District has raised concerns for more strategic approaches to address the situation. In addition, there have been increases in gender-based violence or intimate partner violence reported at Port Moresby General Hospital Family Support Centre. Social worker and clinical manager Tessie Soi and head of the support centre said yesterday that up to 70 per cent of patients who are received at the day centre are sexually abused children under 18 years old. Mrs Soi also reported that the centre receives and treats 100 survivors of intimidate partner violence or gender based violence cases every month. In a day the support centre sees 12 new cases and offer among other essential services physiological first aid to those who need it.

“We see survivors for two to three hours, just imagine the workloads my staff have but they are fighters in their own rights and rights against gender based violence and HIV.”

Health Department’s Technical advisor gender and men’s health Sebatian Robert said there are 17 Family Support Centres in 15 provinces, two in Simbu and two also in Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

 

Article from the New York Times on Manus detention

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/opinion/sunday/australia-refugee-prisons-manus-island.html?_r=0

 

Asylum seekers riot after death at Papua New Guinea detention camp

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/25/asylum-seekers-riot-death-papua-new-guinea-detention-camp/   Post Courier, 25 December 2016

Asylum seekers held at a Papua New Guinea detention centre briefly took control of two compounds and expelled guards following the death of a refugee who fell ill at the centre, Papua New Guinea police said on Sunday.

A 27-year-old Sudanese man, who was identified as Faysal Ishak Ahmed by refugee advocates, collapsed at the centre and was evacuated to hospital in Australia this week. Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection said he died on Saturday.

The man’s death is not being treated as suspicious by Australian authorities, but detainees and refugee rights groups have claimed the man was seriously ill for months and had made repeated requests for medical assistance before the emergency.

A total of 872 asylum seekers are held on Manus despite Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruling in April that their detention was illegal and ordering the camps to close.

 

How not to address maternal mortality

By Camilla Burkot on December 2, 2016

http://devpolicy.org/how-not-to-address-maternal-mortality-20161202/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=93818d5143-Devpolicy_News_December_02_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-93818d5143-227683090

Papua New Guinea is often referred to as the ‘land of the unexpected’. I sometimes wonder whether it might be better referred to as the ‘land of the extreme’. Extreme is certainly an appropriate adjective to describe the country’s maternal mortality ratio, which is the highest in the Asia-Pacific region: 215 deaths per 100,000 live births. To put this in perspective, in Australia the maternal mortality ratio is 6 per 100,000 nationally, and 14 per 100,000 among Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Extreme also seems an apt descriptor for PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s plan to address maternal and infant mortality in his country. As reported by the ABC on Tuesday, O’Neill plans to introduce legislation in early 2017 that will make it mandatory for women to deliver their children in a clinic or hospital. To enable this, women will be paid to attend those clinics or hospitals.

What I assume to be the underlying impetus of this hasty policy announcement – the desire to ensure that all women have access to skilled attendance at birth – is a sound one. The most recent data available from the WHO (2013) indicate that less than half of women in PNG deliver their children with the assistance of a trained midwife or doctor. Globally, about 15 percent of women will encounter unexpected complications during or shortly after birth which require emergency obstetric care (EmOC). Skilled attendance and EmOC save lives.

The key question that policymakers must grapple with, then, is how best to enable access to those services in their particular context. While encouraging women to deliver at health facilities is key, doing so cannot be interpreted as a magic bullet for reducing maternal mortality. Indeed, pushing women to give birth in overcrowded and under-resourced facilities may put them at an increased risk of potentially life-threatening infections, such as sepsis.

Even in the face of a strong, evidence-based plan for improving the rates of supervised births in PNG, it’s difficult to see how the government will be in a position to implement it. As noted on this blog last month, PNG’s health budget was cut by 21% (K315 million) in the 2017 budget (this followed cuts to health of more than 30% between 2014 and 2015). The number of health facilities that are fully operational in PNG, particularly at the aid post level in rural and remote areas, has dwindled. Health professionals are also few and far between; PNG has just 0.5 nurses/midwives per 1000 people, while the WHO now advocates for a minimum 4.45 skilled health professionals (midwives, nurses and physicians) per 1000. Glen Mola, a professor of obstetrics at UPNG, confirms that the main problem facing the PNG health system is a lack of funding for health staff and facilities; “If we’ve got the money, let’s see it please… we desperately need it,” he told the ABC. In this context, requiring women to travel to facilities to deliver their children simply cannot be automatically equated to their accessing skilled attendance.

 

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