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Tuesday, 22 May

04:01

Severe drug and equipment shortages at Port Moresby General Hospital "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

Port Moresby Its not always good news. Today we heard at our staff meeting at Port Moresby General Hospital that we have run out of antiretroviral (ART or HIV) medicines.

We have many thousands of HIV positive people on treatment in the National Capital District (and several more thousands 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: if 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 HIV from them.

We also dont have any syphilis test kits in the country. Syphilis used to be the most common cause of stillbirth (babies dying inside their mothers) in our audit statistics and after we started routine testing of all mothers coming to ante-natal 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 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 babies.

The most common cause of death when oxytocin is not available is post-partum haemorrhage (excessive bleeding after the birth); so we are probably going to see a lot more mothers die 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 patients during and after operations.

Every day we dont have some essential item that is critical to standard medical practice.

And the PNG government does not pay for any of the family planning commodities pills, depo-provera, implants etc. They are all donated to us by the United Nations Population Fund and other overseas donor agencies.

Eventually this will stop, because PNG has recently been upgraded to a middle income country because of our oil and gas extractive industries.

And if the government does not step up and buy the family planning commodities that we need to assist people to plan their families, Im not sure what the consequences will be.

Most doctors and nurses try to stay positive about their work, but in the face of a government that does not support the health system it is...

00:21

Policy Proposals to improve governance and service delivery "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

Papua New Guinea is facing some serious governance challenges that are inhibiting economic development and service delivery and affecting the health and wellbeing of ordinary citizens, but what reforms are needed to ensure things improve?

To help address this question, ACT NOW! has developed a set of fifteen policy proposals that it has set out in a consultation document.

The proposals, which range from a freedom of information law to greater devolution of powers to the Provinces, have been developed to promote openness and transparency, improve integrity and accountability, empower citizens, and harness new technologies to make government more effective and accountable and ensure the aspiration of our National Goals. 

The proposed measures will support and enable greater civic participation in government decision making, increase the available information about government activities, and promote the highest standards of professional integrity. 

The policy proposals can be downloaded from the ACT NOW! website and comments and feedback are welcome so the proposals can be further developed into an effective and comprehensive guide. This will be used to help inform government, business, civil society and multinational agencies and feed into existing and future reform efforts.

Any comments and other feedback can be sent to info@actnowpng.org

Monday, 21 May

22:00

In search of services to address family and sexual violence in Lae communities "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

We conducted research in Lae for three weeks in April to explore the connections between womens experiences of seeking support to address family and sexual violence (FSV) in their lives, and their childrens wellbeing and opportunities for education. Working through church and local networks, we held eight community focus group and town hall-style meetings reaching, over 500 participants from all over the city. We conducted individual in-depth semi-structured interviews with 70 women. At the institutional level, we conducted meetings with service providers such as the police, the public solicitors office, educational institutions, and case management services. We had several focus group-style and key staff meetings with staff of primary schools, high schools, and one community-based health clinic. These cut across government-funded and church-run institutions in the city and in settlement communities.

Emerging findings from this research have highlighted the multiple financial and social considerations that limit womens ability to seek certain types of assistance. The research also highlights the gap between formal systems of support and the reality for most low-income families whose children tend to fall out of the education system because of the immediate and longer-term impact of FSV. Many of the women we interviewed have extremely low incomes and low educational levels. Their experiences of violence reflect deeply-entangled cycles of poverty, marital breakdowns, and chronic episodic violence all of which reinforce each other. Many women are supporting others while also dealing with their own experiences of violence, and the research revealed the critical role that neighbours, family members, other survivors, schools, and churches play in assisting those experiencing FSV. Lifetime experiences and episodes of violence can also involve multiple factors and relationships.

The economic (financial and opportunity) costs of seeking support, particularly from the state, are a major constraint on womens ability to address the violence in their lives. Many of these costs are related to their ability to provide for their childrens housing, food, education, and other basic needs. These costs are exacerbated by the lack of knowledge and confusion over the support services available. Another important reason why women do not pursue the formal route for addressing FSV is the fear of losing the family income if their partner is sentenced to jail. For those living in Laes informal settlement communities, even if they wish to resolve the matter locally in the community, they must pay table fees for local leaders and komiti (committee) members to hear their cases of domestic violence. These local mediation fees can range from K10 to K50 per party to the dispute. If there are multiple parties in the complaint such as when there is a polygamous relationship, these costs can escala...

02:42

LNG project that promised economic boom leaves PNG in worse state: report "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

Source: Isabel Esterman / Mongabay. 

  • Proponents of PNG LNP, an ExxonMobil-led natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, predicted it would bring massive economic benefits to landowners and to the country as a whole.
  • According to two recent reports by the Jubilee Australia Research Centre, PNGs economy is worse off than it would have been without the project.
  • Jubilee Australia also links the PNG LNG project to an upswing of violence in the areas around the plant.

In 2008, when a consortium led by ExxonMobil was drumming up support for a $19 billion natural gas extraction and processing project in Papua New Guinea, proponents of the development predicted it would underpin the countrys economy for decades.

Production began in 2014, and now reaches approximately 7.9 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year. However, according to two recent reports by advocacy group Jubilee Australia Research Centre, the PNG LNG project has not only exacerbated conflict and inequality in the Papua New Guinea highlands, it has also failed to produce the promised benefits. According to Jubilee Australias analysis, PNGs economy would be better off if the gas had been left in the ground.

Predicted economic impacts of the PNG LNG project compared to actual impacts (based on Jubilee Australias analysis of underlying economic trends). While exports have exceeded expectations, GDP growth has been slower than forecast and income, employment and government spending have dropped. Image courtesy of Jubilee Australia.

Big promises

When pitching the project, developers made big promises about the economic and social benefits the megaproject would bring to the country.

One influential 2008 study, an economic impact analysis commissioned by ExxonMobil and authored by Australian con...

02:38

JUSTIN TKATCHENKO FOOLED EVERYONE, EM PASIM AI BILONG YUPLA "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"


JUSTIN TKATCHENKO WAS STILL MP AND GOVERNMENT MINISTER WHILE HOLDING ONTO HIS AUSTRALIAN CITIZENSHIP Where is the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)? If you are a foreigner and trying to purchase your first property in Australia, your application to purchase is strictly processed by that Board. Ted Taru a PNG National went thru the process, paid a nonrefundable fee of $15,000 to instigate the process. You are asked all sorts of questions like, where did you get the money, how you get it, contract documents, bank accounts etc.....very very scary but he did get his approval and bought the property in Cairns eventually. Now the question is.....was that Gardener cum MP an Australian citizen when he bought those properties? If that was the case he wasn't questioned because he doesn't have to go thru the FIRB as an Australian citizen, and on the other hand, was he qualified and eligible to contest the National Elections if he can easily acquire those properties with ease!? He circumvented laws and regulations here and in Australia! Investigations is a must The owner of a Brookfield property is battling Brisbane City Council and a local residents group to build an aviary big enough to house 600 finches alongside her home. Catherine Tkatchenko, whose husband is Papua New Guinea cabinet minister Justin Tkatchenko, paid $1.77 million for the 34,470sq m Brookfield Road site in 2015. The couple also own a $1.1m house at Fig Tree Pocket, in Brisbanes west. Plans lodged with the council in 2016 proposed a 320sq m house almost 11m in height, 30 aviaries over 380sq m, plus a lake, fountain, pool and small animal stables. In response to the plans, 178 residents lodged objections that raised concerns about noise and odours from the aviaries and stables, and described the buildings as an eyesore. A seven-page submission from the community-based Rural Environment Planning Association said the scale of an...

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