Environment, health & human rights Feed

An odious comparison: PNG & Australian hospitals

The new Royal Adelaide Hospital: K5.5 billion to build and  K2.9 billion a year to operate.


ADELAIDE - My first outstation posting in Papua New Guinea was to Baimuru Patrol Post in the Gulf Province.

In 1970 the station boasted a grass airstrip, a native materials office, a small collection of houses and miscellaneous outbuildings.

There was also a rickety wharf decked with Marsden matting left over from World War II.

Continue reading "An odious comparison: PNG & Australian hospitals" »

Covid threatens PNG’s animal rescue centre

Cuscus and handler at Port Moresby Nature Park
Cuscus and handler at Port Moresby Nature Park

| Guardian Australia | Judith Nielson Institute | Extracts

PORT MORESBY - From the heat and dust of the city’s noisy, crowded streets, the Port Moresby Nature Park is an oasis, for the city’s residents as well as the animals it keeps.

Home to more than 500 creatures and spread over 30 verdant acres, the park has spent years rescuing injured, orphaned or trafficked animals from across the country, and protected and nurtured native species, including the endangered pig-nosed turtle, and the magnificent riflebird.

Continue reading "Covid threatens PNG’s animal rescue centre" »

Green climate fund program launched

PNG's green climate fund is launched


PORT MORESBY - PNG’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) program was launched here last week to coordinate a wide range of international and domestic stakeholders in designing and executing activities to address climate change in the country.

The PNG based stakeholders include government agencies, provincial institutions, civil society, faith-based organizations, NGOs and the private sector.

Continue reading "Green climate fund program launched" »

Mine waste debate divides Huon people

Huon dumpingSCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - Papua New Guinea’s environment minister has tried to ease tensions over the proposal to dump mine waste into Huon Gulf in Morobe Province.

Wera Mori says it has not been decided if tailings from the K17 billion Wafi-Golpu project will be disposed using deep sea tailing. But he also admitted that the construction of a tailings dam is not part of the plan.

Continue reading "Mine waste debate divides Huon people" »

Plant More Trees campaign underway


PORT MORESBY – A campaign to plant more trees in Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea has been initiated by Travel4Green (T4G) PNG, a not-for-profit project in partnership with Catholic Bishops Conference.

The campaign has adopted the ‘Keep It Clean. Go Green’ under Pope Francis’s Laudato Si statement and the PNG Conservation and Environment Protection Authority’s recently launched ‘10-million trees in 10 years’ target.

Continue reading "Plant More Trees campaign underway" »

Covid-19 & muting the Angel of Death

Kavieng from the air
Kavieng from the air - a beautiful place I'd never seen before until my coronavirus-affected travels


PORT MORESBY – Last Tuesday the Papua New Guinea parliament extended the coronavirus state of emergency for another two weeks to provide time to pass a new piece of legislation – the Public Health Emergency Bill - that will control how people live in that condition known as the ‘new normal’.

Many people felt the extension was unnecessary, especially when all eight people officially tested positive to Covid-19 have recovered and no new cases detected.

Continue reading "Covid-19 & muting the Angel of Death" »

PNG team scores in greenpreneurship

Port Moresby can be a beautiful city

| Global Green Growth Institute

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s Travel4Green (T4G) project has been selected amongst 15 candidates to participate in the green entrepreneur program run by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).

Of the 164 applicants T4G’s entry in the Green City category saw it selected for the Greenpreneurs 2020 program!

Continue reading "PNG team scores in greenpreneurship" »

The challenges of unsafe water

Hand washing PNG (ADB)
Fighting coronavirus is a daunting task when clean water for drinking and washing is a major challenge

| Asian Development Bank

MANILA - A lack of safe water supply in urban settlements around Asia and the Pacific complicates efforts to use improved hygiene to fight COVID-19

Handwashing with soap and proper hygiene are the first lines of defense to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Continue reading "The challenges of unsafe water" »

Loggers accused of dudding Manusians

Logging at the Pohowa project (Ed Davey  Global Witness)
Logging at the Pohowa project (Ed Davey Global Witness)

| Guardian Australia

SYDNEY - A Malaysian company that won a permit to clear tropical rainforest on Manus Island has been accused of failing to deliver on its promises to the local community, while reaping millions of dollars in profits from the logging of valuable hardwood timber.

According to licensing documents, the company, Maxland Ltd, secured a permit to clear land in the south of Manus to plant between three and five million rubber trees as part of the Pohowa Project.

Continue reading "Loggers accused of dudding Manusians" »

Broken health system braces for Covid-19

Margaret Melke has been a nurse in East New Britain for more than 40 years
Margaret Melke has been a nurse in East New Britain for more than 40 years

| Guardian Australia | Judith Nielson Institute

KOKOPO - The first that staff at Nonga General Hospital in Papua New Guinea heard that they had been treating someone with coronavirus, was when they saw the country’s prime minister announce it in televised press conference on Monday.

They had been treating the patient, a volunteer health worker at the hospital, for pneumonia.

Continue reading "Broken health system braces for Covid-19" »

Frieda River mine ‘unfit for purpose’

The Frieda River


WEWAK - A civil society organisation, Project Sepik, has called for the rejection of the proposed Frieda River mine saying that the environmental impact statement is ‘unfit for purpose’.

The copper and gold mine proposed to be located in the remote Sepik region, would be the largest ever mine in Papua New Guinea and one of the largest in the world.

Continue reading "Frieda River mine ‘unfit for purpose’" »

4,000 nurses to strike over coronavirus

People last-minute shopping in Kokopo ahead of the coronavirus lockdown (Kalolaine Fainu  The Guardian)
People last-minute shopping in Kokopo ahead of the coronavirus lockdown (Kalolaine Fainu,  The Guardian)

| Guardian Australia

PORT MORESBY - Four thousand nurses are expected to participate in strikes across Papua New Guinea this week over concerns that the Pacific nation lacks the medical supplies and funding to handle a potential coronavirus outbreak.

The industrial action follows a sit-in by nearly 600 nurses in the capital of Port Moresby on Thursday over concerns about the lack of personal protective equipment for medical staff.

Continue reading "4,000 nurses to strike over coronavirus" »

The wave is coming, says top medico

Dr Mathias Sapuri - More than 6,000 cases of interest but PNG is doing very little coronavirus testing


PORT MORESBY – Dr Mathias Sapuri, chairman of Papua New Guinea’s medical board, says he believes that coronavirus is already present in the country.

“Our two closest neighbours, Indonesia and Australia, are climbing exponentially with Covid-19 cases,” he said, “and so they are serious risk to us especially after the PNG lock down period.

Continue reading "The wave is coming, says top medico" »

Experts warn of PNG health catastrophe

| Canberra Times | Edited

CANBERRA - At his meeting with fellow G20 leaders on Friday, Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison called for international focus on the plight of Pacific island nations and said Australia was "reconfiguring" its development assistance to support the operation of critical health services and manage the economic impact.

According to the ABC, this includes the reallocation of $22 million of existing aid commitments toward a COVID-19 support package for the Papua New Guinea government.

Continue reading "Experts warn of PNG health catastrophe" »

'The patient Earth is sick....'


TUMBY BAY - While a number of conspiracy theorists, alarmists, doomsayers and social media terrorists have tried to insinuate that there is a link between the coronavirus epidemic and climate change, more level-headed minds have been trying to alert us to the connection between the health of the planet and the health of humanity for some time.

In 1993 the Norwegian physician, Per Fugelli, wrote: "The patient Earth is sick. Global environmental disruptions can have serious consequences for human health. It's time for doctors to give a world diagnosis and advise on treatment."

Continue reading "'The patient Earth is sick....'" »

Cry me a river – The Rabaul Queen disaster

Rabaul Queen survivors await rescue - 246 were picked up; as many as 500 died


Extract from ‘You’ll Never Work Again – The Great Safety Charade’ by Bernard Paul Corden, self published, 2019, 1058 pp. A thorough examination from global sources of how corporate barons – large and small – so often place their employees and the public at unconscionable risk. Download 'The Great Safety Charade'

BRISBANE - On 2nd February 2012 the MV Rabaul Queen ferry capsized and sank with the loss of approximately 150 passengers in treacherous waters off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea.

Despite holding a current but somewhat superficial seaworthiness certificate, the congested, overloaded, listing and dilapidated rust bucket departed from Kimbe in West New Britain the previous day.

Continue reading "Cry me a river – The Rabaul Queen disaster" »

Marape declares state of emergency

James Marape and health minister Jelta Wong


PORT MORESBY – Following the detection of the first coronavirus case in Papua New Guinea late last week, in an emergency meeting yesterday the national executive council decided on the implementation of a series of tough measures to stop or slow the spread of the disease through the country.

“This is not just a health issue but a national security issue,” prime minister James Marape said in a public statement, adding that it will have profound effects on the economy, law and order and education.

Continue reading "Marape declares state of emergency" »

Sepik boosts border virus surveillance

Wutung entry facility at the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (RNZ - Johnny Blades)
Wutung entry point at the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (RNZ - Johnny Blades)

| Radio New Zealand | Edited extract

AUCKLAND –Members of parliament in Papua New Guinea's Sepik region say they'll fund bolstered surveillance of the international border with Indonesia.

West Sepik province hosts the main land access point between PNG and Indonesia where coronavirus cases are surging.

Continue reading "Sepik boosts border virus surveillance" »

Coronavirus: A warning from history

Indian pangolin. Some people believe coronavirus entered the human domain because the pangolin  (found in Africa and Asia) is considered a delicacy in China


ADELAIDE - I spent 32 years working in various capacities within the health, hospital and aged care sector.

It was a continuous learning experience for me and one which, despite the anxiety and distress it sometimes generated, was richly rewarding in providing insights into the nature of humanity.

A fascinating part of my long term learning experience was working in the public and environmental health division of South Australia’s department of health.

Continue reading "Coronavirus: A warning from history" »

Crack down on international flights

Air Niugini
Papua New Guinea joins the global aviation shut down

| NBC News

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea is shutting down international flights amid Coronavirus fears.

Flights in and out of Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Sydney, Honiara and Nadi will cease next Sunday.

Prime minister James Marape said flights will be limited so as to only allow “controlled entry” from Brisbane, Cairns and Singapore.

Continue reading "Crack down on international flights" »

Coronavirus a testing time for Marape

With its first possible case of coronavirus just recorded, James Marape and his government know that they face a testing time

| The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

SYDNEY - It’s been a volatile week for the PNG Hunters.

The Papua New Guinea rugby league team was celebrating on Sunday after staging a late comeback to clinch a 32-30 win against the Souths Logan Magpies in the first round of the Queensland Intrust Super Cup last weekend.

Continue reading "Coronavirus a testing time for Marape" »

PNG announces coronavirus measures


PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) has been put on alert as the health minister, Jelta Wong, formally declared coronavirus as a ‘quarantinable disease’ under the country’s health laws.

On Tuesday, the PNG national security council met to discuss additional control measures in light of the worsening crisis in Australia and surrounding countries.

Continue reading "PNG announces coronavirus measures" »

Coronavirus forces changes to SDA program

SDA church in Goroka

| Adventist Record | Edited

MARYLAND, USA - Preachers from other parts of the South Pacific will no longer be going to Papua New Guinea for a harvest program scheduled for May.

Church officers consulted with the PNG Union Mission about the inherent risks of the coronavirus pandemic before taking the difficult decision.

Continue reading "Coronavirus forces changes to SDA program" »

The PNG flu epidemic of 1969


ADELAIDE - In late 1969, I was summoned to the Assistant District Commissioner’s office in Kerema and told I was to prepare to go immediately on patrol in the mountains lying to the north of the town.

I was to be accompanied by three aid post orderlies and several police. Our task was to identify and treat people suffering from the Hong Kong Influenza, which was running rampant across the world and had finally reached Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "The PNG flu epidemic of 1969" »

Getting HIV services to vulnerable people

UNAIDS Winnie-Byanyima-is-greeted-by-outreach-workers-at-Begabari-HIV-Clinic
UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima greeted by outreach workers at Begabari HIV Clinic


PORT MORESBY - There are around 45,000 people living with HIV in Papua New Guinea, with marginalised groups such as sex workers, other women who exchange sex for money, goods and protection, gay men and other men who have sex with men, and transgender women most affected.

However, less than half of the people who belong to those vulnerable groups have ever taken a test to know their HIV status.

Continue reading "Getting HIV services to vulnerable people" »

Breaking the cycle of violence

Hercules Palme Jim
Hercules Palme Jim - "Not all young men in PNG want to abuse their wives or girlfriends. We've had enough!"


PORT MORESBY - It is disgusting to hear 'experts' or so called feminists in Papua New Guiea say that boys who grow up in broken homes, settlements, villages or homes with violence are prone to get involved in crime or violence.

I grew up in the village and the settlements without a father and have observed over the years my aunties and sisters being beaten up by their husbands almost everyday of my life as a child growing up.

Continue reading "Breaking the cycle of violence" »

Covid-19 would 'wipe out' Daru

Samuel Winggu (centre) leading a march of people in Daru
Samuel Winggu (centre) leading a march of people in Daru

| Radio New Zealand

DARU - Following unconfirmed reports of Covid-19 in Papua New Guinea's Western Province, the mayor of the provincial capital, Daru, has warned the coronavirus could "wipe out" his town.

Situated on an island of the same name off PNG's south coast, Daru is a colonial town initially designed to hold 5,000 people.

Continue reading "Covid-19 would 'wipe out' Daru" »

Let’s have an environment repentance day

Nickson's team on the Kokoda Track as part of their marathon walk (T4G)
Nickson's team on the Kokoda Track as part of their marathon walk to fight climate change (T4G)


PORT MORESBY - Climate change is a global crisis and a multi-sectoral issue. It will take every living person in this decade to do something, big or small, to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to changes in weather patterns.

Nickson McManga, 35, from Kumdii in Western Highlands and his voice on climate change may not be as big as Greta Thunberg’s on the global scale but his is still a " compelling voice on the most important issue facing the planet”.

Continue reading "Let’s have an environment repentance day" »

Poor land use is worsening floods

News clip floodsKERRY KIMIAFA

GOROKA - It would be absurd to blame effects of climate change as the sole reason for sudden and unprecedented flooding in certain parts of Papua New Guinea, such as the recent case here in the Highlands.

But the truth is that we humans have abetted and induced flooding through land use changes, especially massive vegetation clearance.

Continue reading "Poor land use is worsening floods" »

Corona fears: Torres travel banned

Treaty villagesAARON SMITH
| Guardian Australia | Extracts

SYDNEY - Travel between the Torres Strait Islands and Papua New Guinea has been banned after unconfirmed reports of a coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak in the Western Province of PNG.

The PNG government has yet to confirm any cases of Covid-19 in the country but councillor Kebei Salee of the Western Province village of Sigabadaru, said there were unconfirmed cases in the villages of Buji and Ber, while cautioning that “we are waiting for the results of testing”.

Continue reading "Corona fears: Torres travel banned" »

Planting trees to fight climate change

Mature raintree
The grandeur of a mature raintree


PORT MORESBY - Both in government corridors and private sector spaces, environmental conservation is now a hot topic.

Whether we talk about an international conference or the launch of a new green project, people are talking about preserving our Earth, incorporating a great deal of green innovative effort.

Continue reading "Planting trees to fight climate change" »

Embassy tries to quell corona concerns

Xue Bing  China's ambassador to PNG
Ambassador Xue Bing - "The xenophobic attacks against Chinese people are more serious than the corona virus itself"

| National Broadcasting Corporation

PORT MORESBY - Chinese citizens in Papua New Guinea are being urged to be cautious in their movements after growing discrimination due to the corona virus outbreak.

The Chinese embassy in PNG said it's worried about the stigma and hate speech the virus has caused on Chinese people, not only in PNG but in other countries as well.

Continue reading "Embassy tries to quell corona concerns" »

The big bad Australian buai boom

Betel nut gearMARIAN FAA
| ABC Far North

CAIRNS - Health experts are warning about the devastating consequences of chewing an illegal tropical nut with dentists across Australia reporting an alarming spike in oral cancer symptoms associated with the product.

Market vendors in far north Queensland said the intoxicating nut was being traded illegally in growing quantities across the country.

Continue reading "The big bad Australian buai boom" »

Communicate virus better say journos

| Media Council of Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY - The Media Council of PNG is calling on all state agencies involved in policing and securing the country’s borders and people against a potential novel coronavirus outbreak to be better coordinated and to collaborate more closely.

It also says PNG must ensure that all preparatory measures are clearly articulated to the mainstream media if people are to be kept informed and reassured of their safety.

Continue reading "Communicate virus better say journos" »

PNG reacts to corona virus

CoronavirusNEWS DESK
| PNG National Broadcasting Corporation & Sources

PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea department of health has said PNG is among the high risk nations of contracting the corona virus because of its location in the Asia-Pacific region.

Acting health secretary Dr Paison Dakulala said PNG has joined the world in stepping up efforts to contain the deadly virus, which has so far infected 11,000 people and killed 200.

Continue reading "PNG reacts to corona virus" »

Is sustainable forestry a fantasy?


PORT MORESBY – I’ve been reading about guys in the forestry business and thought I might share some of my own experiences.

Cloudy Bay Timbers, owned and operated by the Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program before the expropriation of Ok Tedi Mine, was a perennial loss-maker although it was operated with all the right intentions and using 'industry best practice'.

Continue reading "Is sustainable forestry a fantasy?" »

PNG defends human rights effort

Davis Steven
Deputy prime minister Davis Steven says NGO has been premature in its judgement of PNG's human rights and change is now very close (PNG PM Media Unit)

| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea's government has defended its efforts to protect human rights.

This follows a damning international NGO report into the state of human rights in PNG.

Human Rights Watch's annual summary on PNG says little was done in the past year to tackle corruption, police abuses and domestic violence.

Continue reading "PNG defends human rights effort" »

Deputy takes over health hot seat

Dr Paison Dakulala
Dr Paison Dakulala

| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND – A new appointment has been made to Papua New Guinea's embattled health department, after the former health secretary's contract expired this week.

Dr Paison Dakulala will take over on a three month contract after Pascoe Kase's contract expired on Monday and was not renewed.

Continue reading "Deputy takes over health hot seat" »

Under Marape, rights getting worse - report

James marape glum
"PNG has not really worked to dig itself out of the hole it was in, and it is only getting worse"

| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - A human rights organisation has released a damning report into the state of Papua New Guinea, where a change of prime minister has done little to tackle rampant violence and corruption.

Human Rights Watch's annual report reveals rates of violence, domestic abuse, corruption and foreign debt haven't improved over the past year, where weak enforcement and a lack of accountability fostered a culture of impunity and lawlessness.

Continue reading "Under Marape, rights getting worse - report" »

Missionary sisters expect miracles

Villagers near the town of Bereina in Central Province
Villagers near the town of Bereina in Central Province

| Catholic Leader

BEREINA - When the villagers of impoverished Bereina need to quell their famine, they reach for the noxious betel nut.

In the town of Bereina, in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea, the addictive seed, which is prohibited in Australia, is often the only food source for the local villagers.

Continue reading "Missionary sisters expect miracles" »

Sarawak loggers deforest PNG

Extreme loggingAZRIL ANNUAR
| Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysian companies from Sarawak are allegedly trespassing while carrying out logging activities in Papua New Guinea and contributing towards deforestation in the island nation, says Sarawak Report.

The online investigative portal accused Sibu-based Rimbunan Hijau Group (RHG) and WTK Group as well as Amanab 56 Timber Investments Limited as among those stripping the resources of PNG.

Continue reading "Sarawak loggers deforest PNG" »

Measles in POM 'deeply concerning'

| Radio New Zealand

PORT MORESBY - A senior Papua New Guinea health official says the confirmation of measles in the capital, Port Moresby, is deeply concerning, but he's hopeful any outbreak can be contained.

A five-year-old from Boroko was confirmed to have the disease earlier this week, the third in the country since last month.

Continue reading "Measles in POM 'deeply concerning'" »

Disaster awaits if we don’t plan

Informal settlers in Port Moresby (Catherine Wilson IPS)KOMBA SAKUMB
| Take Back PNG | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Have you ever wondered why urban settlements are growing, mass rural urban migration happening, urban accommodation rates skyrocketing, evictions from settlements are occurring everywhere…..

Have you ever wondered why urban customary land is being bought by outsiders, urban law and order problems are rising, urban poverty is growing, rural district centres are run down, the incidence of street begging, prostitution and cities full of rubbish is increasing?

Continue reading "Disaster awaits if we don’t plan" »

'Africa on our doorstep'

Patricia Oome  (Alex Ellinghausen)
Patricia Oome,  14,  a week after being admitted to hospital for severe malnutrition and tuberculosis (Alex Ellinghausen)

| Sydney Morning Herald

SYDNEY - It's barely a whisper when 14-year-old Patricia Oome speaks, and her movements are laboured as she struggles to find a comfortable position on her bed.

A room full of children shouldn't be this quiet, but like many admitted to the paediatric ward of the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH), Patricia is weak from severe malnutrition - a result of often eating just one meal a day as her family feels the financial strain of having seven children.

Continue reading "'Africa on our doorstep'" »

Measles in Gulf & New Ireland

| Source: PNG News

PORT MORESBY - Just before Christmas the health department confirmed two positive cases of measles in Papua New Guinea.

Testing at the central public health laboratory detected the disease in the Gulf and New Ireland provinces when surveillance was heightened due to the deadly measles outbreak in Samoa which killed 80 people, mainly young children.

Continue reading "Measles in Gulf & New Ireland" »

God, violence & women’s subordination

"In effect the churches blame the wife for the beatings and violence her husband has inflicted on her"


TUMBY BAY - In the first of a series of recent articles on gender and Christianity on The Conversation website it is suggested that a literal translation of the bible may be contributing to domestic violence.

In a self-declared Christian nation like Papua New Guinea, with very high levels of violence against women and children, this discussion has particular relevance.

Continue reading "God, violence & women’s subordination" »

Saving the Sepik from Frieda mine


PORT MORESBY - A photo posted on Facebook showing dried freshwater fish at Wewak market has sparked a discussion on the future of the Sepik River.

In the river’s headwaters, the Frieda copper and gold mine is pushing ahead with its development plans.

The Sepik is 1,100km long and empties into the Bismarck Sea. The river system’s 430,000 people use the river for food, education, transport, health and culture.

Continue reading "Saving the Sepik from Frieda mine" »