When the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing

Exciting stuff...isn't it? The front-page news of a new state-of-the-art hospital to be built just outside Port Moresby. About time the real needs of the people of this country were addressed. And the Americans are going to be involved, especially the prestigious Stanford University!!

I have raised the issue of  "brain drain" previously in another blog where a growing number of elites of Papua New Guinea have been inflicted with lifestyles diseases and this major announcement for such a facility is music to our ears. What boggles my mind though is how the top health bureaucrat, Health Secretary Dr Clement Malau did not know about the hospital and it is not even included in the 5/10 Year health plan.

Don't get me wrong - I love the idea but let not the pollies run away with the idea while the bureaucrats and technocrats are trying to come to grips with the enormity of such a project. Which brings me to the letter below that ran in the Post-Courier yesterday and raised some pertinent questions under the heading - IS PNG ABLE TO STAFF AND RUN STATE-OF-THE-ART HOSPITAL:-

"Allow me to comment on the state of the art hospital. Hold your horses PNG - don't be fooled by the "spin doctors". A state of the art hospital  needs state of the art patients for starters.

I have heard these superlative adjectives before from professors of medicine in the 1970's and 1980's but am unconvinced that they will change the health statistics. Building a hospital is the easy part; the hardest part is equipping and staffing it 24 hours a day, 366-days a year; year in year out, without fail.

A hospital of any size, let alone that of 300 bed one, runs on nursing and ancillary powers, not on doctor's power. Does PNG have the number of nurses and ancillary staff to run a state of the art hospital? Ok, they can be flown in from offshore. I am sure it can be done.

But we must not delude ourselves that doctors can be trained to do coronary artery  bypass surgery in three months or a radio-oncology for a similar length of time. And the beds in this hospital are not going to be free. K500 per day would be a minimum, extra for meals, medications and doctor's visits.

A 90 percent bed occupancy rate per day per year might give it a chance to survive. It will not be a teaching hospital because a patient paying the privilege of K500 a day won't be too happy to let students poke and prod his chest, abdomen and stick the fingers up the whatever.

I know I am a relic from last century but I feel sad when I see patients being turned away because they could not afford the outpatient's fees or pharmacy charges at Port Moresby General Hospital.

A. Saweri
Port Moresby



Above- Multi-coloured Sailau ready for sailing         Below - Rabaraba Dancers                      

Milne Bay province is well-known for many reasons. Situated at the southern-most tip of Papua New Guinea, its breathtaking seascape dotted with emerald islands makes it a natural magnet for marine sports lovers such as divers, fishermen and sailors.

The people are seasoned seafarers who traded in the traditional Kula expeditions, travelling miles in magnificent sailing canoes to barter for food items, clay pots and other necessities. With every gesture and act of friendship was born a link in the Kula ring. Shell money known as “bagi” and “mwali” were the legal tender in those days. A “bagi” or “mwali was used to even buy land or a bride. The shell money continues to be used, albeit rarely, for certain exchanges particularly of cultural significance.

To commemorate the Kula voyages and to keep their customs alive, the Milne Bay Canoe Festival was born seven years ago. And what better place to stage this annual festival than on the northern shore of Milne Bay in Alotau, the provincial capital! From November 6 to 8 last year (2009), the township’s population of about 12,000 was boosted by people who flocked to the sleepy little town to witness and participate in an event that is gaining popularity every year.

AFL Academy PNG kicks off

The AFL Academy PNG began this month as the first dedicated international Aussie Rules Football League Academy to cater for the game's growth in the Pacific region.

Talent from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Nauru and the Solomon Islands are set to converge at De La Salle Catholic Boys High School just outside Port Moresby every year. This year 17 inaugural attendees of the Academy were on hand to witness the signing of the agreement between the Principal of the De La Salle school, Mr James Ume and the AFL Asia Pacific Manager, Mr Andrew Cadzow.

Papua New Guinea has already proven to be a fruitful training ground for some Australian AFL Clubs. AFLPNG's Coca Cola Talent Path has delivered 6 new signings under the international recruitment drive.

Richmond, Essendon and Brisbane Lions were impressed while attending the Coca Cola Talent Camp in 2009 that they have recruited: -

1) Gideon Simon (Western Highlands) - Richmond Tigers
2) Nathan Malabag (Morobe) - Richmond Tigers
3) Ezra Kaut (West New Britain) - Brisbane Lions
4) Brendan Beno ( Autonomous Region of Bougainville) - Brisbane Lions
5) Victor Rame ( West New Britain) - Essendon Bombers
6) Max Lavai (National Capital District) - Essendon Bombers

             Congratulations AFL PNG!!!!

Nambawan Super to fight land lease

Papua New Guinea's largest superannuation fund, Nambawan Super was last Friday granted leave to appeal before the National Court against the decision of the Lands Minister to forfeit a State lease  it owned for 99 years.

The leave was granted pursuant to Section 142(2) of the Land Act 1996 for the plaintiff (Nambawan Super) to lodge an appeal in the National Court within 14 days.

Valentines Day - Why not give PNG gold jewellery

Below - Intricate PNG motifs  made from PNG gold - a gecko, PNG Kina coin & Kundu  pendants

In the jungles, valleys, mountainsides and river banks of Papua New Guinea; washed up by pristine waters and painstakingly filtered by miners – silver and gold come to life when artisans at the House of Gemini   or Kara Jewellers put their talent to work. The process of rolling wire, moulding, shaping and polishing jewellery is same the world over.

What is so vastly different about the jewellery made in Papua New Guinea is the inspiration deeply rooted in a rich cultural heritage which is expressed onto the individually handcrafted gold and silver pieces. In this story we celebrate the shining examples who rarely receive accolades. They are the jewels of this country.

Tau Rupa exemplifies one of those. He is a wealth of talent His superbly crafted handiwork adorns beautiful women not only in Papua New Guinea but arguably in every corner of the globe. His typical day at the House of Gemini could be spent sketching, designing, moulding, shaping, engraving and polishing fine jewellery worth thousands of Kina made of gold and silver encrusted with diamonds and precious stones.

Yet this unassuming 54 year old from Babaka village in the Central Province only completed Grade 6. At 16 years and fresh out of school, Tau Rupa travelled to Port Moresby in search of a job. The only jewellers in Papua New Guinea then were Kara Watchmakers located in Boroko. He was given an opportunity to enter an industry that was in its infancy and had not yet realised the enormous potential it had on its doorstep. Tau has not looked back since.

 Mining Boom
The boom in mineral mining in Papua New Guinea in the 1980s brought with it the window of opportunity for using affordable local gold and silver in jewellery making. Alluvial gold mining also introduced an opening for using gold nuggets for refining and in exquisite settings. Jewellers like Tau were able to use these local precious metals to perfect their craft. Tau spent painstaking hours training under the watchful eyes of overseas jewellers, brought to Papua New Guinea by Kara.

A white shell bangle enriched by PNG gold  

Landowners close Kokoda Track

By Simon Eroro - Post Courier

The Mt Kodu landowners with the support of 13 villagers along the Kokoda Track including the Isurava battlefield area have closed down the Kokoda Track.

The landowner's spokesman Barney Jack said yesterday that the decision for the closing was to show the people's frustration over the failure by the Papua New Guinea and Australian governments to deliver its Kokoda Development Program (KDP).

Mr Jack  said the deal was signed between the two governments in Madang in 2008, after the landowners protested. They wanted Australian-owned mining company , Frontier Resources to mine the proposed Mt Kodu mine which was supposed to be developed near the track. He said Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu in many instances assured the leandowners of both the government's commitment in funding the development package but nothing had been done.

The chairman of the Kokoda Track Authority James Enage when contacted said the closure of the track was spear-headed by individuals with vested interests, not genuine, and trying to convince the locals to gain support.
Mr Enage said the delivery of the project was at a snail's pace because of the difficulty with the relocation of many villagers to their little hamlets over the past 10 years but assured the project which include schools, health services and water supply were within the timeframe.

He said the landowners were scheduled to meet with Sir Puka on Wednesday to push for a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the government and the Mt Koda landowners so that nobody "takes advantage to fool the landowners".

The Kingsley Eroro Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Scholarship

Last year we were touched by the tragic loss of 13 lives on an Airlines PNG aircraft who were en route to Kokoda from Port Moresby. Amongst those on board were 9 Australians and 3 Papua New Guineans, including Kingsley Eroro from Kokoda. 

Kingsley was a well loved and respected man from Kokoda who enjoyed helping the local community whenever he could. Kingsley was also well known to many Australian Rotarians who have visited Kokoda doing work for the Kokoda Hospital and other projects in and around Kokoda. His wife Grace Eroro runs the local Post Office and is also the agent for Airline PNG in Kokoda.  Most trekkers would have met Grace or one of their family on their journey to or from Kokoda. Many of you have walked with some of his brothers, sons, nephews, and wantoks.

Kingsley Eroro worked as the Mill Foreman of the processing – crusher/sag operations at the Porgera Joint Venture/Barrick (Niugini) Mine Site in the Porgera Valley near Mt Hagen, approximately 600 km north of Port Moresby. He was returning home to Kokoda on his tour break to spend time with his family when he died in the accident.  On certain occasions when asked by friends Kingsley acted as a guide on a number of crossings of the Kokoda Track. Kingsley is the elder brother of Russell Eroro well known to many Australians, particularly those who walked the Trail with Kokoda Trekking Ltd his local PNG based company operating out of Kokoda.

Kingsley strongly believed in the importance of family, education, and a better future for the people of Kokoda and was dedicated to finding pathways for young Orokaiva people. He was particularly passionate about finding opportunities for young Kokoda students to get an education and return to their home village to work and make a living. 

In memory of Kingsley’s life, and in paying respects to the ‘Eroro’ family, the Kokoda Track Foundation is honoured to announce the ‘Kingsley Eroro Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Scholarship’. This scholarship will be awarded to Orokaivan students from the Kokoda district region who are embarking on secondary studies in 2010. The scholarship will be awarded to students from Grade 9,  who have demonstrated exceptional ability and promise for the future and who are committed to returning to Kokoda after their education to make a living and contribute to their community.

Stop and Laugh today

Don't you just love lawyers, attorneys - whatever you want to call them.

Below are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, which represents answers people gave in court, as taken down by court recorders and published.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.


ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

Ist Cholera Case in Port Moresby General Hospital

The PNG Health Department has just confirmed the first cholera case at Port Moresby General Hospital.

While the hospital is working with the National Capital District Commission's Health Adviser, to use one of the health facilities in the city, to isolate any further incidents, people should be extra cautious.

Please take time to have a read:

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