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08 February 2019

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My response to this story was a combination of dismay and anger.

My dismay is for the distress and suffering of the couple who have lost their child. My anger is because it is an unnecessary death.

This death almost certainly would not have happened in the colonial era. The reason is simple: there would have been a staffed and equipped Aid Post located sufficiently near to ensure that the child could be treated swiftly.

It is not rocket science to create and maintain basic medical services in remote areas. It is not even especially costly.

The Aid Post Orderlies of the colonial era were given quite limited training in how to diagnose things like pneumonia and then select the appropriate treatment.

They had supplies of basic drugs like Chloroquine, Paracetamol, Neosporin antibacterial powder plus various ointments for treating cuts and abrasions and, very importantly, Procaine Penicillin. The latter could produce almost miraculous recoveries from Pneumonia and certain other ailments.

It is disgraceful beyond belief that the PNG government cannot even manage to deliver such a basic service.

I gather that there is some plan to import Cuban trained doctors to work in PNG. I understand that, whatever its failings, the Cuban government has created a very comprehensive and competent public health service.

I suspect that any Cuban doctor is likely to be much perturbed by the lack of even basic health services in remote areas: the Cuban services are able to reach any part of their island.

This child's death is emblematic of the many failure of PNG's leadership over many years.

Instead of focussing on doing the basics well, which even a quite impoverished communist Cuba has done, they prefer to squander public funds on fripperies like APEC.

Some of them, of course, simply steal the money they are supposed to devote to serving their people.

A succession of Ministers for Health and their Department stand condemned for their incompetence and, all too often, outright corruption.

The human cost is vividly on display, yet the same empty rhetoric and even more empty gestures persist.

God help PNG!

Heartbreaking by any stretch of the imagination.

Heart breaking!

The disgraceful every day face of Peter O'Neill's Papua New Guinea.

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