Islands News

Manus Asylum Refugees Complain of Lack in Health Care

Reports reveal a high level of mental illness at the Manus Processing Centre.


On Sunday, the Guardian and Fairfax Media of Australia reported that there is no full-time psychiatrist employed at the Manus Island centre, despite this growing problem.

There were also reports of poor medical attention provided for refugees, and the replacement of Australian medical staff with local workers.


The report revealed that health standards in the detention centre were questionable, as asylum seekers reported heart conditions and severe deformities were not being treated.


Guardian Australia received further images of asylum seekers inside the Manus detention centre from a man who was detained there before returning voluntarily to his country of origin.


The man says he is in constant contact with asylum seekers still on Manus Island, and has heard numerous complaints of poor medical care in the centre.


One photograph purportedly shows an asylum seeker, named “Majid”, with severe facial deformities, said to be causing itching and scarring, as a result of previous surgery.


Majid said cream to treat the ailment was confiscated on arrival at Christmas Island and never replaced.


The man who provided the photographs said there are other asylum seekers on Manus Island with heart conditions that are not being treated.


There were also complaints about general cleanliness contributing significantly to spreading diseases throughout the facility.


There was also a report on more PNG nurses to be brought in to the Manus Island detention centre.


Some Australian doctors and nurses at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea are to be replaced with local and Filipino staff that recently arrived in Port Moresby, as asylum seekers continue to complain of poor medical treatment.


A small number of PNG nurses had been employed at the centre since it opened, but from two months ago more were taken on to replace Australian nurses. About a dozen general nurses work in the centre.


On Sunday Fairfax Media revealed that no full-time psychiatrist is employed at the Manus Island centre, despite the high level of mental illness there.

This is amongst other growing health indicators in the center.


In the meantime, Health Minister Michael Malabag said he is not aware of the report.


The Australian High Commission in PNG, however, said an investigation is underway to address this matter.

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