Democracy alive & well in PNG; but the times are dangerous
Gov Naru, I challenge you to have me arrested as a terrorist

In praise of those dedicated & skilled rural health workers

Lenny John and Sr Belinda Apian, community health workersARTHUR WILLIAMS

WITHOUT Papua New Guinea’s rural health workers I wouldn't be alive today.

Lavongai Island never had its own doctor during my more than 40 years connection with the place.

The best we had were health extension officers who had to be able to deal with all sort of medical emergencies and were generally as good as a doctor.

Here in far off Wales where I now live, if I ring for an appointment to see a doctor they ask which one. After the PNG years of my life, I always say anyone will do and give thanks. Similarly with dentists.

I can recall lowly aid post orderlies living a long distance from any town who gave their services 24 hours a day if necessary.

I also think of the many nurses who did lifesaving work which elsewhere in the world would be done by doctors. And, sadly, these nurses were working with few facilities nor even the right drugs or equipment.

God bless them all who, even as I type, are facing unimaginably traumatised patients, perhaps by torchlight.

Mind, I knew a few nurses who made me cower when it came to 'kisim sut'. I can still feel the small nodes in my buttocks where one lady at Taskul gave me many jabs over the years.

Babies immediately shrieked whenever she came near them. Thankfully she was one of a few such ‘poor dart' nurses.  In his time Masta Bia was perhaps second only to Lapun Darius.

Health worker and patientI was once asked to cash a government cheque for Vevien. It was his overtime payment for a month of ferrying seriously ill patients from Taskul to Kavieng in an open dinghy.

Often this would be done in the dead of night with a monsoon blowing its torrential rain.

A wantok would hold a waterproof torch  that Vevien had bought himself and stocked with batteries he also bought with his own money. Holding a drip in the torchlight would be a young nurse or nursing aide.

Sometimes they failed to reach the beach near Kavieng Hospital before the patient died. But, thankfully, often the person would recover thanks to the dedicated rural health team that had braved the elements.

Vevien's overtime cheque was for a meagre 75 toea. I never banked it to reclaim the money but kept it as a memorial to a good man who served his country for a pittance while the spivs were busy ripping off  the nation and lining their pockets and when venerable MPs even PMs were lauded for what they did during their time in parliament. 

My hero Vevien died too young, driving his outboard in the middle of the night when he apparently collided with another boat possibly navigated by a drunken driver.


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Bernard Corden

I developed and implemented a HIV AIDS management program during my four-year tenure with Trukai Industries with the assistance of a nurse from Angau hospital in Lae, the late Sister Julie Vit. She was so inspirational and demonstrated true leadership, without the relentless corporate bilge uttered by many alleged senior managers.

I would be walking through the hospital grounds and out of the blue a greeting would be hollered from a ward window...... " morning tru Mr Corden"

It was always delivered with a cheery smile despite much of the surrounding despair and it is one of my most enduring and pleasant memories of PNG.

Noel Passcoe

Without having seen the show, just the terminology sounds insulting, demeaning to the current people of West Papua and so insensitive.

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