A MISSIONARY IN PNG
Our church is in two minds about AusAID – we see it is well intentioned, but on the other hand what happens is not always appropriate.
For instance they are trying to help the 11 community health worker schools across the nation and we had a consulting team here.
We call this boomerang aid because a lot of the money is spent on the people who come. And we may not get the right assistance then anyway.
One thing they want to do is increase community health workers in training by 100% - but how could that number be employed when many of the government health centres and aid posts are non-functioning?
And even those centres under our church management would have no extra accommodation or places for them. You just end up with disappointed young people.
Also, we definitely need quality nurses rather than nurses in quantity. What we need are courses to upgrade present staff.
AusAID also tends to run with a project for a few years then pulls out.
An example would be the new community health worker curriculum, which is fine, but to keep it running a lot of material has to be photocopied.
Next year our principal estimates this will cost K8,000. But, as AusAID has pulled out from curriculum work, there’s no money, so what they set up may not be sustainable.
We feel people from the outside, who don’t know us or PNG, are making decisions.
Our students go out on practice to learn how to manage in a normal aid post which won't have all the prescribed medicines, whereas AusAID says the aid post accommodating students must be fully stocked. But for us that's not the real world.
AusAID recently provided Provincial Health with a sea ambulance. Again the intention was good, but it is an aluminium runabout powered by two 200 hp outboards – all very good for a Gold Coast lake, but try it in the sort of seas we have here!