Josephstaal is one of the four local level governments (LLG) in the Middle Ramu District of Madang Province. It is an isolated LLG with an estimated population of 22000 people. With no road link, health and education services are cut off.
Josephstaal LLG was once connected by road from Bogia but due to lack of maintenance, the road is now overgrown with shrubs and trees.
There used to be an airstrip at the government station. It is has been closed for several years. The people have been neglected for more than 20 years. Health and education are the only government services in existence.
Getting school supplies and teachers in and out from Madang town is very difficult. The academic year begins late and ends early.
The school year begins with teacher but they leave towards the end of the year never to return. It’s too far and too isolated. Academic performance of students are poor. There is only one student from Josephstaal in university.
Health system is broken.
Mothers can’t get adequate antenatal care, supervised delivery and family planning. Children are not immunized.
This year, there has been a number of maternal and infant deaths. Getting medical supplies and equipment on time is very difficult. Health staff are reluctant to go to Josephstaal.
The Madang Catholic Archdiocese provides the primary support in mobilizing logistics and meeting the high costs. The overall performance of health services is very poor.
All local businesses in Josephstaal have shut down contributing to very low cash flow in the LLG. As a result parents cannot meet their daily family needs.
In the Middle Ramu District of Madang province, the only road connected with Madang town once is Madang Josephstaal.
Funds have been allocated for road maintenance in the last 15 years but there’s been no maintainence for the Josephstaal to Madang road.
(Vinansius Wavite is based in Lae.)