Social Concerns Notes – September 2020

Medical stores blamed for disrupting medical supply chain

September 10, 2020 The National

THE five area medical stores caused many problems in the medicine distribution supply chain, a Public Accounts Committee inquiry revealed.
Committee chairman Sir John Pundari told Parliament yesterday that the medical stores were the “bottlenecks and may have outlived their usefulness”.
Sir John said a lot of medicine went missing or were misplaced in the stores.
“They have a slow response to orders and poor recording of medicine levels, (contributing) to medicine shortages in the country,” he said. He said security issues in stores around the country were raised during the inquiry by health department and health facility staff.

Bishop condemns rape, opposes prostitution

September 9, 2020 The National

A CHURCH leader has condemned as inhuman and cruel the recent gang-rape and assault of a sex worker in Port Moresby who was left to die on a roadside.
Evangelical Lutheran Church PNG head bishop Rev Dr Jack Urame said the men involved had taken advantage of her vulnerability and should face the law for it.
“They have no respect for the defenceless woman,” Rev Urame said.
“They only wanted to satisfy their desire without considering her safety.”
He said just because she was a sex worker did not mean she deserved that kind of cruel treatment. “No matter who she is and what she is doing, she is still human and deserves better treatment,” he said. “Gang-rape and beating a woman in such a cruel manner is unacceptable. “It indicates how disrespectful some men are to women, especially women in vulnerable situations.” He however opposed prostitution, saying human beings are created in God’s image “and not commodities to be sold”. “God created human beings and accorded them with dignity and value, not with price tags,” he said. “We are created in God’s image and we are his temple.”

Reflect on nation’s achievement, failures, says Bishop Urame

September 15, 2020The National

FORTY-five years as an independent nation is a long journey and everyone should critically reflect on the nation’s achievements and failures, a church head says. The achievements are our strengths and pride while the failures are lessons to learn from and find new ways to improve, said Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG head bishop Rev Jack Urame.
“There is huge potential to do more and better but we must admit that there are critical development challenges we must address and overcome them,” he said.
“Some of the challenges are manageable but others are not. On the occasion of our 45th independence anniversary, let us reflect on some of the challenges and address them so that future generations do not suffer the consequences of our ignorance today.
“We must admit that there is a lack of progressive development. There is an imbalance in the physical growth of our country.
“Most of the infrastructure development is concentrated in urban areas and many rural communities are neglected. Many of the colonial infrastructures are falling apart.
“Roads are deteriorating, bridges are collapsing, schools and health facilities are aging while law and order issues are increasing. “After 45 years, life in many rural communities has not improved much while urban migration continues to increase, thus urban settlements have expanded throughout. “This adds additional social and economic stress to the country.
“We have not sufficiently addressed the economic inequality – there are enough resources in the country to meet the needs of the citizens but living standard has not improved much and many families are living below the poverty line.”
Urame said the wealth of the nation was not properly managed.

Public service a threat to security & unity

16 September 2020

https://www.pngattitude.com/2020/09/public-service-a-threat-to-security-unity.html

NEWS DESK| Kalang FM News PORT MORESBY – Acting Chief Secretary to Government, Ambassador Isaac Lupari says the public service is a threat to national unity and security. He says the system of the PNG public service is broken.

The reason he says this is because there is no reform or policy development. Controls are lacking and appointments and recruitment are based on association rather than merit. Lupari says discipline is poor without sufficient investment in skills development and training. He says at all levels appointments are made based on political affiliation and place of birth.

At the provincial and district level, 99% of public servants in provincial administrations and 95% in the districts come from within, as a result PNG continues to see a continued decline in services. This extends also to our police service, schools, and health clinics. Lupari says public servants have become territorial where they act on self-interest rather than the interests of the nation, and they have failed to deliver for the public they serve. The government spends K4.6 billion each year on public service payroll.

“A stable and capable public service is critical to the unity and long term economic and social security our nation,” Lupari added

The Covid-19 ‘new normal’

16 September 2020

MICHAEL DOM
LAE – The global pandemic of Covid-19 has had many repercussions to daily life and keeping abreast with World Health Organisation recommendations, the Papua New Guinea government has also defined the ‘new normal’ for its citizens. But to thousands of the peri-urban poor, struggling to survive during trying economic times, the impact of policing health measures is just another normal day.

At Nine Mile on the Okuk Highway outside Lae City, PNG’s economic hub, market vendors, mostly mothers, have set up their vegetable selling activities along the side of the road, seated one meter away from moving traffic. The highway-side markets have been going strong since the middle of May this year, even before the first official nationwide lockdown ended on 2 June. It’s a basic survival need for households with annual incomes less than 2,000 Euro (K8,000).Nine Mile market is one of a number of popular fresh vegetable markets set up on an informal basis along the highway leading out of Lae. It operates in the afternoons seven days a week but was officially closed during the April to June enforced Covid-19 lock-down, when an expatriate worker fell ill to the viral infection in a hotel at Ten Mile.

Informal marketing is the most important economic earning activity for more than half of the population while it is estimated that only about 15% of the country’s eight million people have formal means of employment. Yet informal vegetable markets are given scant attention by local level governments for even the most basic services, such as sanitation as simple as a source of clean water to wash hands, let alone a latrine. The best the women marketers at Nine Mile can hope for is that the police won’t turn up to run them off and destroy their produce, as was done to women in a similar predicament in the capital city Port Moresby.

This normal is not new.

True independence starts in the mind.

18 September 2020   https://www.pngattitude.com/2020/09/true-independence-starts-in-the-mind.html#more

LAE – If you don’t like the state of the country, commit yourself to changing it.  You don’t have to be in politics to do it. If there is trash outside your fence, pick it up. It is not the job of city and town authorities to pick it up for you. If people aren’t doing it, commit time to teaching them what is right.

It takes time and effort. Nobody gets paid. Don’t expect rewards. Building a country doesn’t work that way. If you have a job, if you are employed, arrive 15 minutes early every day. Work one hour extra each week for free. If you are unemployed or work for yourself, think about ways to help your community, instead of being a burden on those around you. Fix the potholes in your road. Yes, your road. Not the government’s road.

Make sure the children in your neighborhood, your community, your family, go to school on time. Help your relatives start businesses. Help your brothers and sisters create jobs. Help them to be independent. Why should jobs be created only by foreign investors? Why should we work for slave wages when it is in our hands to create work for our own people? If we are to work for pay, it must be for ourselves and for our own countrymen and women who understand the complexities of PNG society and the family obligations that come with it. Our systems are different.

Teach the youth in the community about the true reasons why the government allows alcohol to exist and allows the troubles it causes to go unabated. Teach them about the slavery of mind and spirit caused by alcohol. We have great opportunities here in this country. We have a young country waiting to be molded into how we want it to be. It starts with little actions, hard work and consistency. Stop sending lazy petitions to heaven when you have not done the work here on earth. Stop demanding for an end to corruption when you are a person that turns up late for work and mistreats your fellow Papua New Guinean. Shame the government into acting by being better than your leaders. Only an independent thinking people will choose the best leaders to represent them.

Mass arrest

September 21, 2020The NationalMain Stories

A GROUP of 81 students is expected in court today charged with cult worshipping, homebrew and drug consumption and drinking in a public place. East New Britain police commander Chief Inspector Joseph Tabli said two girls reported the matter to the Kokopo police station on Saturday after they were robbed of their bags and phones while delivering food to their boyfriends in the group. Police found the 81 students at the Mamapua beach between Butuwin and the Kokopo Secondary School in Kokopo. He said when police arrived, the students aged between 16 and 21 were allegedly in the middle of “worshiping” a young man. The 81 were taken to the Kokopo police station where they were detained overnight before being interrogated.
“The reason we kept them overnight was because they were drunk and unable to talk properly,’’ Tabali said. “On Sunday we began talking to them and called all their parents who expressed their disappointment over the activities of their sons.” He said 74 had been charged with loitering and released on a K100 police bail. One is charged with being in possession of marijuana and detained.
Six have been charged with being in possession of homebrew and granted a K400 police bail each.
The 81 students are expected to appear in the Kokopo court today.
Police will write to the schools explaining why the students have been arrested.
“While we will charge them according to the law, the schools will deal with them according to their own rules and regulations,” Tabali said. He urged parents to know the whereabouts of their children at all times. “If your child comes home late, question him or her where they have been.
“Know where your child is. You do not want police calling you to come down to the station or even worse the morgue to identify your child. “Talk to your children every day. Remind them the laws are there to protect everyone in the community and breaking the law will see them facing police.”

Mass surrender to law

September 28, 2020The National

MORE than 300 men have surrendered to Madang police for various crimes including arson, rape and cult activities among other offences, police commander Supt Mazuc Rubiang says.
He said 272 of them were from the Transgogol area.
Supt Rubiang said 83 had been processed and 25 of them were arrested and charged with wilful murder and sent to Beon jail. He said a further 36 men from South Ambenob surrendered and were being kept at Jomba cell to be screened and processed.
According to police reports, the majority of the men said they wanted peace and normalcy to return to their communities and had turned themselves in following weeks of law and order awareness by stakeholders in Madang. Meanwhile, Supt Rubiang said three major car accidents were reported in Madang on Saturday.

Children diagnosed late

September 28, 2020The National

MANY children with cancer in Papua New Guinea are diagnosed when they are in the late stage of the disease, doctors say. Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) general pediatric surgeon Dr Jack Mulu said in other countries, children were taken to the hospital earlier, diagnosed and treated appropriately. “For our setting they come at a very late presentation,” he said.
Dr Mulu was speaking during the childhood cancer awareness month celebration at the PMGH children’s cancer ward on Friday. “It has been very challenging managing these cases,” he said.
“Sometimes we just say we open the patient up, it goes beyond the operative, we say we can’t go any more because it’s inoperable. “Sometimes, when it is operable, we do everything under the sun and then we say we’ve done everything under the sun.
“With prognosis, sometimes they do well, sometimes they don’t but we continue and provide services. “We do what we can.” Dr Mulu said they had problems, shortfalls and limitations, but doctors at PMGH always did their best to treat and care for patients.
He said there were three pediatric surgeons in the country at the moment and three more were undergoing training. He said it was important to think about the other parts of the country as well and they hoped to train more doctors in the future.
PMGH acting pediatric coordinator Dr Gwenda Anga said there were 40-60 children with cancer coming through PMGH yearly and 20 were on treatment currently.

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