Social Concerns Notes – October 2018

K200-K600 pay deductions for teachers all over the country and they want to know why

This morning, I was informed that  a number of teachers in Lae had not received their full salaries.  On average, each teacher mentioned had about K200 deducted from each of  their salaries over two consecutive fortnights. I didn’t know how bad the situation was. So by 7am, I posted an alert on Facebook asking teachers in Lae to provide some leads. Almost immediately, the Facebook messages and text messages came flooding in.  And I am not exaggerating here.  Teachers from primary and secondary were sending messages from all over the country telling me that they had pay cuts which affected their families in a big way.

Most teachers don’t get much in terms of a salary.  So a K200 deduction can sometimes amount to a third or even half their pay.

A great (but ignored) way to include everyone in development October 2018

In cities such as Port Moresby, Lae and Mt Hagen, the growth of informal settlements has been so rapid and pervasive that it has reached a point where urgent action needs to be taken to arrest what has become out-of-control development. It is estimated that by 2030, one-third of PNG’s population will be living in urban centres with an annual growth rate of 1.6%. In Port Moresby alone it is estimated that over 45% of the 700,000 plus population of the National Capital District live in the unplanned areas and settlements. Most of these people will not be able to secure formal jobs and will take up livelihood activities within the urban informal economy to get by. The National Informal Economy Policy for 2011-2015 estimates that 80-85% of the total population is involved in the informal sector. In Port Moresby alone it estimates that about K2 million changes hands every day in the urban informal economy. That is about K750 million a year. In most developing economies, the informal economy has outgrown the formal sector to the extent that governments are being urged to embrace the informal economy to combat rising unemployment. This points to an urgent need for the PNG government to integrate informal economy into its urban development plans and priorities, as it has often been advised to do.

Lifestyle diseases on the rise in PNG

Post Courier, October 3, 2018

PAPUA New Guineans are urged to live a healthy lifestyle because lifestyle change and the prevalence of non-communicable diseases are rising. This was the message that Health Minister Sir Puka Temu conveyed to the United Nations last week. Sir Puka told the UN General Assembly that PNG was experiencing an increase in blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and cancer which is the leading non-communicable disease.

While significant effort has been placed on managing communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and polio, Sir Puka said that effort is also directed at managing con-communicable diseases, including, for example:

• implementing the Tobacco Control Act and developing regulations to support a stronger public response against smoking;

• drafting a Radiation Control Bill to regulate radiation sources in PNG and allow the import of cobalt for our radiation treatments for cancer patients;

• Launching a multi-sectoral plan to help address lifestyle factors in non-communicable diseases;

• undertaking an Organic Law Review, Provincial Health Authorities Review and implementing District Development Authorities, all of which could provide the foundation for a better functioning health system; and

• implementing the Cancer Control Policy and a National Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan 2015 to 2020 for Non-Communicable Diseases.

TB is being keenly felt in PNG and it remains a public health threat and kills more people in the country than any other infectious disease.

Govt’s failure to address poverty is driving TB’s spread in PNG

Post Courier, 03 October 2018

CANBERRA – Tuberculosis is such an old disease, such a normal part of the landscape in many countries, that many governments fail to recognise the extent to which it is a major driver of poverty, with a devastating impact on individuals, families, communities, and the country. In countries with weak health systems, the dangerous symbiotic relationship is even more obvious.

Papua New Guinea is one of those countries where neglect of the disease through the years has caused the number of cases to spiral exponentially and allowed new drug-resistant strains to develop, resulting in many communities being trapped in a vicious cycle at the interplay of poverty and tuberculosis – one driving the other. According to the 2017 World Health Organisation Global TB Report, TB kills more people in PNG than any other infectious disease. There were 30,000 new cases of TB in PNG in 2016. As the numbers continued to increase. The irony is that PNG is resource-rich. Yet it ranks 153 out of 185 countries on the Human Development Index

The longer we wait, more people die

Post Courier, October 4, 2018

“I have been here (national cancer centre) for almost 10 weeks, other patients have been here longer, six months, 12 months and one to two years, waiting for radiotherapy treatment.” These are the heart-felt words of a man-stricken by cancer and no immediate relief in sight. The patient, who refused to be identified, continued: “I have witnessed a total of 11 patients die in the past eight weeks (up to mid-September). “While sitting on my sick bed, I saw four patients who were admitted before I was admitted die and four new patients admitted, replacing the four who had just died. “And I am still sitting here on my sick bed and the four who were admitted died with three other women cancer patients.

“The longer it takes for Parliament to pass the Radiation Safety Bill, patients are dying and will continue dying.” This patient is now living at the national cancer centre at Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, speaking on behalf of the other patients.  “We appeal to the government to pass the Bill as soon as possible. “The struggle we face with no radiation treatment available here at the National Cancer Centre is killing patients.

Two out of three suffer violence, says study

October 5, 2018 The National

 A STUDY has shown that two in every three local women suffer from physical, sexual and psychological violence at the hands of their partners. The Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee of the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council has therefore urged all agencies dealing with family and sexual violence to observe this month’s campaign against domestic violence. The committee’s national coordinator Marcia Kalinoe said domestic violence was no longer a private matter. “(It) is a crime punishable by law. It affects the rights of individuals and restricts their access to wealth, opportunities and privileges in society. It is a social injustice,” she said. It includes punching, slapping, kicking, and use of objects to hurt another person, yelling, swearing, coercion and threats.
Also included is stealing money, stalking, continual texting or phone calls, sexual abuse and degrading someone and making them feel useless and isolated.
The committee advocates for a nationwide awareness this month to end domestic violence in the country. The campaign suggests:

  •  Standing up for a mother, daughter or sister experiencing violence;
  •  Telling someone about the 1-Tok Kaunseling Helpim Lain 7150 800, or calling the number to report any form of family and sexual violence in the community;
  •  Wearing a purple or black ribbon to support survivors and remember those who died as a result of domestic violence;
  •  Making a donation in cash or kind at a Safe Haus or a Family Support Centre;
  •  Speaking up for the safety and protection of women, girls and boys.

Thirteen polio cases affected with limb paralysis

October 5, 2018 The National

Thirteen of the confirmed polio cases are affected with limb paralysis and can no longer use their legs, says national coordinator polio response Sibauk Bieb. “The only different paralysis is the one on the nine-year-old boy from Enga who had paralysis in his breathing muscles but lost his life last month,” he said in an update. “We have the 13 remaining.
“For the 13 with paralysis of the leg, the polio virus has affected their lower limbs and sometimes their upper limb and they cannot walk or move their legs easily.”

Serious questions as PNG malaria infections increase ninefold 10 October 2018

CANBERRA – A recent report from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research shows almost a ninefold increase in the number of cases of malaria in PNG between 2014 and 2017. The key result of the report is that there has been “an increase in the size of the total population infected with malaria parasites from 50,309 in 2014 to 432,000 in 2017”.

According to the April report, the national prevalence of malaria is now 7.1%. This is up from 5.1% in 2010-11 and a remarkably low 1% in 2014-15. In many ways, the 7% prevalence underestimates the severity of the problem. The national figure is 10% for children under five. Malaria prevalence among all ages is as high as 16% in Madang, 10.8% in Milne Bay, 8.8% in East Sepik and 8.7% in New Ireland. For children under five, some of the reported provincial prevalence rates are terrifying: the highest is 20.5% in Sandaun.

What has gone wrong? We know from international research that success in malaria control can be fragile. In the case of PNG, the report points to three factors: a decline in Global Fund support after 2013; a simultaneous decline in PNG public expenditure in the health sector and the lack of availability of drugs.

It’s pretty simple, although the report also suggests that changes in mosquito biting behaviour (from night to early evening) may have reduced the effectiveness of bed nets.

The earlier drastic reduction in malaria was held up as a PNG success story, as indeed it was.

The reversal raises some very serious questions. These have to be directed first and foremost to the PNG government. Our own 2017 economic survey showed that health funding increased in the years to 2014, but was sharply cut between 2014 and 2016 – by 37% after inflation.

New independent corruption commission has no independence

10 October 2018

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea government’s announcement of a so-called Interim Independent Commission Against Corruption is an insult to the nation and an abuse of the ICAC name. An ICAC must be independent from government and free from any political interference, but what the prime minister has announced fundamentally fails both tests. What PNG urgently needs is a truly independent, full resourced and properly empowered ICAC. It is vital that ICAC is an independent constitutional body with powers to investigate complaints, arrest suspects and prosecute cases of corruption in both the public and private sector while working alongside existing law enforcement agencies. It is over 10 years since PNG ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption yet we are still waiting for an ICAC.

Police Record increase in car jackings

Post Courier, October 10, 2018

AN EVIDENT increase in carjacking incidents around the country has citizens and authorities alike on edge. According to Police reports, a staggering 140 stolen vehicle incidents have been logged since 1 January 2018 around the country. In NCD alone, as many as 76 cars have been reported stolen since January. NCD Metropolitan Superintendent Perou N’Dranou said that the increase in hold-ups and related carjackings was not a new thing and that while the numbers were discouraging, recent policing developments in the second quarter of the year have drastically improved crime stats in general. In Madang, Provincial Commander Ben Neneo told this paper yesterday that Jomba Police station had received over 20 stolen vehicle reports this year, with Lae, Rabaul and Mt Hagen all reporting stats just shy of ten each.

APEC Cost to PNG to Date approaching K2 BILLION

Insiders at APEC Authority have estimated the following costs to the nation to date over the last 2 years:
1. APEC Haus construction – K300m.
2. Hilton Hotel construction contribution – K200m.
3.  Sealing of Jacksons airport (old terminal area) for 767 aircraft to park – K70m.
4. Cruise Ship hires – K90m.
5. Joint Security task force costs including cars and bikes and boats and related cost under Police Comm etc. – K60m.
6. Hire cars –  K65m.
7. Hotels and venue hire for all the lead up meetings so far – K90m.
8. Motor vehicles including executive Praods – K50m.
9. New Maserati sports sedans – K40m.
10. Salaries for staff and consultants for staff and foreign consultants for years for both APEC Authority and APEC secretariat – K90m.
11. Travel and allowances for attending meetings etc over 2 years – K60m.
12.  Staff accommodation – K30m.
13.  Uniforms and attire we see littering Pom – K50m.
14. Banners and flyers and signages by a certain Lady’s company- K30m.
15. Computers and meeting registration software – K20m.
16. Medical Services to PIH for meetings so far- K10m.
17.  Work on wharf to accommodate cruise ships – K30m.
18.  Water supply piping with Eda Ranu to Motukea for cruise ships – K10m.
19. National Weather Service Upgrade  – K10m.
20.  PNG Air Safety Ltd equipment upgrade – K20m.
21. Staff meals and allowances during meetings for all State Agencies including Police and govt departmenta- K10m.
22.  Fuel and maintenance costs for over 120 vehicles for 2 year – K30m.
23. Cost of hosting several lead up meetings in certain provinces- K20m
23.  Other administration costs like mobile phones and internet and stationery etc etc  – K40m.
These exclude all aid funded projects like the Poreporena Freeway upgrade for K30m and Convention centre upgrade for K25m.

 Hilton and Western

The Hilton Hotel in Port Moresby was opened last week – string quartets, acrobats, three tenors and other carnivals were there. The Governor of Western Province –made a very good speech apparently.  But he ended it with……”as I look at this magnificent building I think about my people in Western sitting around fire, scraping for food, suffering TB and dying of other diseases and with no electricity or medicine”.  And walked off the stage.

Citizens react in anger as govt tries to explain Maserati purchase

SYDNEY – Papua New Guineans have reacted with anger at its government importing a fleet of Maseratis to drive international delegates around the APEC conference next month, amid a health and poverty crisis, struggling economy, and ongoing efforts after a devastating earthquake. The PNG government has defended its decision, expressing confidence that all 40 luxury cars will be bought by the “private sector” after the two-day event, leaving the government with no financial burden. The cars, which cost between $200,000 and $350,000 each in Australia, were flown in from Milan on two Boeing 747-8F charter planes this week, with the costs covered by “the private sector”, according to the minister for APEC, Justin Tkatchenko. “Maserati Quattroporte sedans have been secured and delivered, and are being committed to be paid for by the private sector,” he said.

Australia this year announced an extra $16m in aid to address the polio outbreak and assist PNG’s vaccination program. Recently there have also been pay cuts across multiple sectors, including to teachers, and unexplained resealing of Port Moresby roads while rural areas are often inaccessible.

Transparency demands full disclosure on APEC vehicle purchases

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea chapter of Transparency International (TIPNG) has said the only way to stop allegations of corruption is for the government to be honest and transparent in its procurement processes. Late yesterday TIPNG called for the government and the APEC Authority to publicly disclose the total cost involved in the purchase and import of 40 Maserati and three Bentley sedans and other luxury vehicles which generated controversy in PNG and internationally this week after it was estimated the purchases amounted to at least 40 million kina.

The statement said that the Government had recently passed the National Procurement Act along with other recent public finance reform legislation which was intended to strengthen public trust in procurement. “However it is difficult to see how the general public can have confidence in a system which, in the absence of transparency, is so readily made to support what are seen to be impulsive and extravagant purchases by state entities,” the statement said. It added that this was especially so “in the face of declining service delivery, a depressed economy and severe hardships being faced by ordinary Papua New Guineans”.

Is the clock finally ticking for PNG’s illegal loggers?

A time traveler from 1988 visiting Papua New Guinea’s forestry sector today would find it distressingly familiar territory. Three decades ago, Commissioner Tos Barnett was conducting his Inquiry into aspects of the forest industry, published as a two-volume survey of the corruption and illegalities allowing PNG’s forests to be felled wholesale and exported, to the country’s economic and environmental loss. Barnett’s famous pronouncement that logging companies were operating in Papua New Guinea with the “self-assurance of robber barons” is as relevant now as it was then. (Indeed, hardly a think piece on the industry can be published without repeating the quote.) What has changed in the interim is that those mostly foreign-backed companies have cut and sold off many millions more cubic meters of PNG timber, in a process that has signally failed to bring meaningful development to the country’s rural and forest-dependent communities. PNG’s ongoing crisis in forest governance has been meticulously documented since Barnett’s day, including in a flurry of research published in the last several years. All of it tells the same story. Chatham House estimated in 2014 that 70% of the country’s timber may be produced illegally…. [See url above for the whole article.]

Report highlights govt’s multiple breaches in SABL land grab

PORT MORESBY – The appalling human rights abuses being suffered by the victims of the huge SABL land-grab in Papua New Guinea are the focus of a report published yesterday.

‘The SABL Land Grab: Papua New Guinea’s Ongoing Human Rights Scandal’ highlights the devastating impacts on people living in rural communities and gives a voice to those who have suffered the illegal loss of their land to logging and oil-palm plantations. One of them is Peter Tai, who says people were threatened, beaten and turned away by armed police and the army when they tried to stop the logging and oil palm planting on their traditional land

“When the company uses the police and army, they twist the law and beat us up very badly, to the point where we are afraid to attempt stopping the company again,” Mr Tai said.

It is not only violence that people have suffered. The report highlights how the SABL land grab, as well as breaching PNG’s own land laws and Constitution, has breached a whole raft of international laws and conventions. These include the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and many of the fundamental human rights protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Facts trump Government spin in Maserati furore [See the url for the full interesting article].

 Bel Isi PNG: a world first
Development Policy Blog.

Can family and sexual violence (FSV) be more than the humanitarian concern that we know it to be? The answer is yes. In Papua New Guinea (PNG) FSV has been quantified as a significant cost to business. For example, for one company recently surveyed in Port Moresby the cost was three million kina in one year alone.

The operation of Bel Isi services by Femili PNG, a PNG NGO, will assist survivors and support the existing network of services. So, how does Bel Isi PNG work? Companies pay a subscription fee, and can steer their staff who need help towards targeted individual support such as medical care and counselling, police and legal resources, and shelter if necessary. This allows those experiencing family and sexual violence to better cope with their circumstances and return to work sooner and more focused. Bel Isi services will also assist public clients, with the case management centre open to all. Bel Isi PNG also offers the potential for longer-term, deeper influence, as it gives companies help in drafting and implementing their own policies defining their response to family and sexual violence.

Bel Isi PNG is a potential game changer. It’s a public-private partnership that could bring about real change in PNG and could set a positive example and precedent for the rest of the world.

Letter From Dr. Glen Mola…

Today we heard at our PMGH staff meeting that we have run out of antiretroviral (ART or HIV drugs) medicines. We have many thousands of HIV positive people on treatment in NCD (and several more thousand around the rest of the country) and they may not have any medicine to take unless new supplies arrive in the very near future. People on ART must take their medicine every single day: they they stop and start again they are very likely to breed resistant HIV. This is not only bad (in fact life-threatening) for the patient, but life-threatening for everybody else in the community who might catch the HIV from them.

We also don’t have any Syphilis test kits in the country. Syphilis used to be the commonest cause of stillbirth (babies dying inside their mothers) in our audit stats.- and after we started routine testing of all mothers coming to AN clinics (and treating the positives) we virtually eliminated this scourge from our pregnant mums. But now with no test kits available, the syphilis problem will come back again and many babies will die.

And this week we ran out of Oxytocin, the drug that prevents women from losing too much blood when they deliver their babies. The commonest cause of death when oxytocin is not available is post partum hemorrhage (or excessive bleeding after the birth); so we are probably now going to see a lot more mothers dies even when they come to hospital to have a supervised birth. And we are very short of surgical sutures – the special thread and needle that surgeons use to sew up their patients during and after operations….

What should be the values of the people running PNG?

Martyn Namorong. – At independence, Papua New Guinea adopted Christian values from missionaries who said Jesus was our saviour who would provide for us heaven. Post-independence, the miners and loggers came along with other neoliberal capitalist missionaries from the World Bank, the IMF and other multilateral institutions and told us capitalism was the way to heaven. Our forefathers believed in the message of Christ and gave their land and resources to the churches. Today their children believe in capitalist economic development and are giving PNG’s land and resources to the capitalists.

Whereas Christian missionaries called for repentance and behavioural change to attain salvation, nowadays we talk of foreign direct investment and economic growth to attain deliverance. Who is to say, that if are rid of the O’Neill regime that it will be replaced with something better? We once rejoiced when Peter O’Neill replaced Michael Somare. If the mindsets of those who run PNG now, and who will do so in the future are enslaved by pathological ideologies, we will continue to face the same issues. The challenge now is to change the narrative and articulate an alternative model of development that is relevant to PNG….

Big health donors defraud patients by ignoring corruption

You can read the complete PNGi article here

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s health system is in crisis. Tuberculosis is at epidemic levels, polio has re-emerged, maternal and child mortality rates are among the worst in the world, malaria infections have increased nine-fold in just three years, no radiology treatment is available for cancer patients, rural health clinics lie empty and abandoned….

The list goes on and on. Yet this is a health system that for decades has been financially and technically supported by some of the world’s largest multilateral agencies, the World Bank, the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and many others. Why is their assistance so manifestly failing?

This year Australia will provide $572 million in overseas direct aid to PNG, 18% or $103m is being targeted at the health sector. In addition, Australia has just announced an extra K24 million in funding to combat vaccine preventable diseases, starting with Polio.

Australian Minister-Counsellor based in Port Moresby, Benedict David says, “under the leadership of Minister Temu and the National Department of Health, this additional support will help protect PNG’s children from polio and other childhood illnesses”.

Just last week, PNGi revealed a GAVI [the global vaccine alliance] investigation that found NDoH staff engaged in sophisticated and widespread financial fraud.

Now, another report has emerged from the same organisation. It is a program audit of the government’s expanded program of immunisations. The expanded program of immunisations is managed by a unit within NDoH. It was established in 1977. It is considered by the national government to be “an important, cost-effective intervention for reducing the morbidity and mortality of children from communicable diseases”.

The GAVI audit strongly disputes this assessment, labelling the programs overall performance ‘unsatisfactory’ [the lowest possible rating] and concluding its objectives are unlikely to ever be met. The unsatisfactory rating applies across the whole spectrum of the program’s operations. The majority of issues identified in the audit as contributing to the unsatisfactory ratings were deemed to be “critical risk” [the highest possible grading], meaning a failure to take remedial action could result in ‘major consequences’ affecting ‘overall activities and output’. The GAVI audit found that over a two-year period (2014-15) more than 25% (US$720,000) of GAVI funded expenditure by the expanded program of immunisations was misused or wasted and over 250,000 doses of vaccine (worth a further $50,000) were rendered useless through shelf expiry or inadequate temperature controls.

But what is even more shocking is that the audit only examined expenditure funded by GAVI….

Three more confirmed Polio Cases in Madang, Enga EHP

Post Courier, October 19, 2018

THREE additional polio cases have now been reported giving a total case count to 18 in Papua New Guinea. The Health Department of Health announced this yesterday that these three additional polio cases have been confirmed in Madang, Enga and Eastern Highlands provinces. To date, there have been 18 polio cases in the country affecting seven provinces: six in Eastern Highlands, three in Morobe, three in Enga, three in Madang, one in the National Capital District, one in Jiwaka and one in East Sepik.

Delay in Supply of Drugs a Concern for WHP TB Patients.

Post Courier October 24, 2018

Tuberculosis (TB) patients are fearful of their lives. In the Western Highlands Province TB sufferers are now living on the edge due to the delay in the arrival of drugs that were expected two weeks ago. This was the scenario that TB patients were faced with when they fronted up on Monday morning to get their usual dosage. They crowded the TB outpatient ward only to hear from Mount Hagen health authorities that there is a drug shortage and were advised to wait. For many, having to wait and extra day of two for the drugs to arrive from the Department of Health can be dertimental towards their livelihood. This is because if they miss a daily doze for a week it can lead to the development of Multi Drug Resistance TB, which is difficult to treat, and the drug is expensive to buy.

Women as peacemakers much needed at this time, says Momis

Momis – ‘Through women’s joint efforts peace in Bougainville was attained and maintained’

BUKA – The traditional roles of Bougainvillean women have been as custodians of the land and providers of the safety net within the community. In more recent times these roles have been redefined to include peacemaker, to mark their contributions to the post-civil war Bougainville peace process. Bougainville president John Momis congratulated the women of Bougainville during five days of celebrating their social contribution to the autonomous province last week. “Women are an important stakeholder in peace building on Bougainville,” Dr Momis said. “It was through your joint efforts with our leaders, ex-combatants and government that peace was initially attained. “I once again call upon your resilience and unwavering support to continue to play a vital role in preparing our people before the referendum [on Bougainville’s political future] is held next year. “I am of the firm belief that our people will not fail but before that happens we must work hard for it to happen,” he said. He reminded the women that the referendum is a privilege that only Bougainville has in Papua New Guinea. “This means we are a highly favoured people presented with a rare opportunity to decide our own destiny,” he said.

A letter to the prime minister about the women’s cancer ward

PORT MORESBY – Dear prime minister, greetings to you and your cabinet. This morning (Monday 23 October), I visited the cancer ward at Port Moresby General Hospital at 1.13 am. The purpose of my visit was to see and feel the life in this ward. Hon prime minister, the first feeling that engulfed me as soon as I opened the door was similar to walking into a morgue.

There was no life in this building except for the light from fluorescent tubes. I will bring to you the realities of this place. Hon prime minister, if you stand where I stood, you will see a stretch of corridor. If you look to your left and right, you will see curtains hanging lifelessly on the doors. I believe you would vividly know what is behind those curtains.

If you peep through those curtains you will see our mothers, wives and sisters awaiting their deaths. Looking at their lifeless faces, you see Death is inevitable. They expect it to come to them at any moment. There are about 36 innocent patients awaiting their death. Their cancer has reached Stage 3 which requires radio therapy to cure. There is hope in the dimness of their faces – if only they are able to secure K60,000 for radio therapy treatment overseas. This mother of two children has cancer. The only therapy available to her is Panadol. However, from my brief interview, none of them can afford that money. This they just pray with hope that there could be a miracle.

Hon prime minister, these women have no choices in life. Hon prime minister, cancer is curable at our doorstep if only we had these treatments available. The obvious questions are who and why. Who is to provide this treatment for these innocent mothers? If there is someone to provide it, why is it not provided?

Hon prime minister, Papua New Guinea is hosting APEC in a couple of weeks’ time. We talk and walk luxuries from the floor of parliament to APEC Haus and into the settlements. We are forking out millions of kina from the bags and bilums of these suffering mothers, who are on death row, to fly in, all the way from the other side of the world, luxury cars costing millions of kina – Maseratis and Bentleys to be used for only three days.

Hon prime minister, it’s because of our mere ignorance that these innocents are suffering. This is just one hospital I am referring to but let us project it to the entire country. I believe there are hundreds or thousands of people suffering nationwide. Do we have a remedy for them or do we just let them perish where they are? We are very capable of combatting cancer but our ignorance and negligence destroys innocent lives. I fear the Good Lord will hold us accountable for our deeds. Therefore Hon prime minister, please can we just sell two of the 40 Maseratis after APEC and buy radio therapy equipment for our mothers, wives and sisters? I believe this approach would be taken by the men and their sons to save their mothers, sisters and wives. Tomorrow it could be our mothers, wives and daughters who might face the same fiasco. Hon prime minister, please do something to save the mothers of this great nation.


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