More than the thin edge of the wedge
Lowy poll shows support for Aussie aid

Let's stop building crazy castles in the air


PAPUA NEW GUINEANS are dying like flies from preventable lifestyle diseases.

This is the result of our government's negligence in promoting primary health care and its failure to provide medical equipment, drugs and support facilities such as CT scans, pathology services and laboratories.

The late Kundi Pok died from a heart attack. Let me give readers a perspective of a hospital's approach to treating a heart attack victim.

When patients with heart attacks are seen in the emergency department, one of two things happen. The patient either dies or survives.

Prompt effort is made to secure the airways, hook the patient to a defibrillator and to immediately protect the heart with oxygen.

There are lots of pain killers, blood pressure stabilisers, drugs to dissolve blood clots and prevent new blood clots forming, drugs to protect the heart and reduce its workload to the bare minimum without compromising it.

Simultaneously, there’s bedside radiology and blood analysis to ensure the overall body chemistry is OK and any discrepancies corrected promptly.

This is the most critical phase for any patient with a heart attack.

After the patient is stabilised, the next phase is to transport the patient to a tertiary centre equipped with cardiac catheterisation for angiography to determine which heart blood vessels are blocked.

Once that’s determined, a patient can have stent inserted to reopen the blocked blood vessel or unde go open heart surgery.

Thereafter, the patient is on lifelong medication to control blood pressure, and advised to change their lifestyle.

Major hospitals in PNG should by now have these basic lifesaving protocols, drugs and equipment available.

There should at least be one tertiary hospital with a cardiac catheter laboratory and trained staff.

Papua New Guineans should by now be trained to perform open heart surgery, otherwise, innocent young lives will continue to be lost.
This leads me to two recent events that raise concerns about the government's ability to make sound and informed decisions: the government's injection of K20 million to build the Pacific Medical Centre and the PM's announcement to provide aid to smaller Pacific island nations.

These decisions show that Michael Somare has cognition problems.
This is nothing short of somatisation; where the facultative thoughts of the mind are translated into bodily symptoms which are gibberish and nonsensical.

Grandiose ideas are synonymous in PNG with the big man syndrome.
An obsession with the liquefied natural gas project seems so intoxicating to the PM that he has forgotten about basic services to the people.
For Sir Michael’s information, the small Pacific island nations are better off than the people of his Sepik electorate.

The PM's children and grandchildren are living very comfortably in Cairns while the people of his electorate are suffering silently.
So spare a thought for the Sepik, PM.

Dr Kristoffa Ninkama is a medical practitioner resident in Queensland. This is an edited version of a letter that appeared in The National of 31 May 2010


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Colin Huggins

Reg - I hope Somare and his clan read this. I doubt, mate, if it will make one iota of difference to that person. Still, a worthy thought, hopefully read by other PNG'ians for them to see that certain people can get better health checks before appearing on manicured golf courses!

Keep going mate, you will soon, I hope, have a government accountable to the people. The spirit of Mugabe looms all the time on the PNG horizon.

Reginald Renagi

Dr Kristoffa Ninkama merely states the obvious: that the PNG parliament, government and all citizens are fully aware of and they must now work towards finding practical solution for. Dr Ninkam has provided a lot here that the health secretary and the Minister must fix.

Health Minister Sasa Zibe must now have the guts to point blankly tell the Prime Minister to set a good example to all our citizens by going to the Port Moresby General Hospital for his periodic medical check ups.

In addition, Parliament and government MPs must also have the guts to tell our Prime Minister not to jet-set off to Singapore every 3-4 months to get a medical at the people's expense.

He is no different to any ordinary Papua New Guinean as they put him into the office and they can now remove him at the next elections in 2012.

John Bennett

I am a Strine working and living in PNG and your PNG ATTITUDE blog is a joy to read. Keep up the good work.

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