Eh, Mr Tkatchenko, why are you knocking your own arts festival?
What colour are your eyes?

We must not ignore the children who are malnourished & dying

Malnutrition (Unicef)FR JOHN GLYNN | We Care Foundation

THE headline on the front page of the Post-Courier last Wednesday, Malnutrition Kills, was accompanied by Unicef statistics which are terrifying in their implications.

One revealed that 45% of Papua New Guinea’s children have stunted growth.

This means that, because they are malnourished from birth, almost half of PNG’s young people do not grow to reach their proper size and strength.

It also means that their brains are undernourished and so do not reach their full level of mental ability.

A report published last year by Australian and PNG researchers showed that about 80% of Papua New Guineans are functionally illiterate and uneducated. Now we are told that almost half of our children are growing up physically and mentally retarded.

Of course, the children who are suffering from malnutrition are not “our” children. They are not the children of the blessed 20% or so of the population who are educated, employed, and able to take care of themselves and share in the increasing wealth of this lucky country.

The one child in 13 who dies before the age of five; the 14 in every hundred who suffer “wasting” diseases and die by the age of six or seven, and the rest who grow up mentally and physically retarded are the children of the 80% of the population who are illiterate, uneducated, and in many cases suffer from extreme poverty.

This situation should be completely intolerable and unacceptable to every thinking citizen of PNG.

There should be an outcry from every corner of the country for a war on poverty and ignorance. But, of course, it won’t happen. The poor have no voice.

This 80% of the population have little or no access to radio or television, and cannot read the papers - which are not written for them in any case.

And you will not meet any of them on Facebook or Twitter. It is so easy to ignore them, and to live our lives as if they didn’t exist. 


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John Kaupa Kamasua

I would like to think differently and say that there is some truth in this story.

Generally the situation of children related to their health and education in this country are a disgrace.

Children are a window to society. If they are not being looked after then there are deep-seated problems in society that needs to be addressed.

There should be less talk and more action from every organisation and those who can help.

We owe it to them, and the future.

Tanya Zeriga Alone

Generalisation is also a fallacy.

Giorgio Licini

This post was also on the Facebook page of the Catholic Reporter over the weekend. A number of comments were not favourable.

Basically people say that the UN, NGOs and the likes exaggerate or even make up reports and figures in order to justify their expenses for research, trips, reports, etc and secure additional funds.

Some say that this description of the situation of PNG children may be true for the settlements in POM and Lae, but not for the much larger rural areas where children apparently grow up with full stomachs and don't experience shortage of vitamins and proteins.

It would be interesting to understand more from people researching and working in the field.

True, Fr Giorgio. Assertion without evidence is worthless. The critics should produce proof rather than indulge themselves in scurrilous attacks on reputable international aid agencies - KJ

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