COMMUNITIES in the South Fly District of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province are suffering from a leadership vacuum created by the lack of political leadership according Jamie Namorong, a prominent community leader from Malam village in the Trans-Fly.
Jamie Namorong stated that the lack of political leadership coupled with geographical challenges has led to the decline of service delivery in his district.
He said the departure of the PNG Sustainable Development Program from the province has resulted in the decline in mobile communications coverage and many communities that once had access are now cut off from the rest of the world.
The geographical isolation and communications difficulties have meant that government officers such as teachers and health workers were reluctant to work in remote communities.
Mr Namorong stated that the recent wet season has destroyed roads and bridges and made it difficult for medical supplies to reach communities.
“Our sick people are being carried on stretchers to aid posts that have no medicines.
“Arufi Primary School, near the Torres Straits border, has only two teachers who are taking eight classes.
“At Weam Primary School, near the border with Indonesia, six classes are being taught by two teachers.
Mr Namorong has come to the capital Daru to raise the alarm with national and provincial leaders.
He stated that, whilst the general population of Trans-Fly is being negatively impacted by the leadership vacuum, women, children and the elderly have been disproportionately affected.
He warned that a failure by authorities to respond to issues in the South Fly would exacerbate pre-existing health concerns such as the spread of tuberculosis in the region.
Mr Namorong called for relevant authorities to work with communities to address the development challenges of the region.