Rural health and education in most parts of Papua New Guinea have been severely affected due to lack of government funding, and negligence by authorities.
On Monday, November 27, 2017, Jiwaka Graduates and Students (JSAGA) made a medical trip to one of the places that has been left out of developments for years and the discoveries are quite astounding. This was backed by deep concerns raised by locals regarding health and education facilities in the Lower Jimi LLG.
“We have been left out from all developments in the country since 1975,” a youth at Kombiyai told the medical team as he was welcoming them into their area.
Kombia community is located near the Bismarck range in the Lower Jimi LLG of Jiwaka Province. As new as the Jiwaka province, Lower Jimi LLG is a new LLG declared in October in 2014, but still lacks vital basic services.
“People living between Jimi and Madang boarder have no access to schools, health and roads. They can’t even sell their products at a nearby market. Their household income would be less than K10 per year; still uncivilized and mostly nomadic,” said Michael Kei, a PNG University of Technology Land Administration and Property Studies graduate who led the research and data collection during the trip.
The JSAGA medical team arrived at Tseungai community at the foot of the Bismarck Range at a time of a flu breakout in the community. Caught between ongoing political conflict and absence of medical assistance, the community numbering over a thousand people had mostly children and elderly people affected by the flu.
“There is no APO or doctor here to save our lives, and also we were not able to go for medical help in Koinambe because of ongoing conflicts due to politics,” A community spokesperson said. The community also made known of their need for an Aid Post and health officers to serve them. Sickness such as flu is curable, but lack of medical assistance is a big concern.
JSAGA Medical also discovered that the remoteness of the community, lack of roads and bridges has made it difficult for people to access health services. The communities in the Lower Jimi LLG also suffer negligence by authorities and government.
As part of their annual medical trip to remote parts of the province, the medical team of eight males and one female left Banz town at around 12PM on Monday November 27, 2017. Equipped with medical kits and supplies, thanks to Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and Tari General Hospital, they returned on Sunday 3 December in Banz exhausting all medical supplies brought.