Friday 30 September 2011

Health Care

(Photo by Jenny Griggs)

This  sign, and the underlying chair are possibly the cleanest things at Angau Hospital. Angau is the place that Betti the Wonder Mari went recently, with suspected malaria. 30+ hours of lying on a flithy mattress, with no food, water or toilet facilities, she had her BP taken. 

And was sent home. 

15 minutes later, I'd bought her Quinine at the local pamasi, jabbed her in the bott, and started her on a course of anti malarials. For the cost of K17.

And the Aust Government, in its infinte wisdom:

The Federal Opposition says a Government plan to extend the life of two tuberculosis (TB) clinics in the Torres Strait, off far north Queensland, is a "small stay of execution".
The TB clinics treating Papua New Guinea nationals were due to wind up yesterday as the Commonwealth shifts its funding of TB services from the Torres Strait to PNG.
The Federal Opposition's Indigenous health spokesman, Andrew Laming, says the Government's proposed three-month extension does not allow enough time to train clinicians in PNG to take over.
"Papua New Guinea's a very tough place to treat TB because of the remoteness and inaccessibility," he said.
"We need a 12-month handover minimum, it's not that expensive to continue these TB clinics and it's certainly a lot cheaper than getting infected TB patients turning up in Australia.
"We understand that Queensland Labor, together with Julia Gillard, are talking about two extra clinics that will go through until September but it's completely impossible to train clinicians in Papua New Guinea in that time.
"What's needed is an investment in Papua New Guinea that builds up services, but we must not stop the Torres Strait clinics - they are the clinics that stop tuberculosis island hopping from Papua New Guinea down and infecting Australian citizens."

and from SBS
The federal and Queensland governments are being accused of unnecessarily exposing mainland Australia to virulent new strains of tuberculosis, with the closure of specialist clinics in the Torres Strait.

Two clinics, on Boigu and Saibai islands, near Papua New Guinea, have been treating PNG citizens infected with TB.

However they are due to close at the end of the month, leaving island patients to seek treatment in Daru in Papua New Guinea's Western Provnce.

But head of the Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine, Professor Ian Wronski says PNG's health system isn't capable of treating the patients.

Professor Wronski told Stefan Armbruster, the closure of the clinics will leave far-north Queensland exposed to the disease.


Daru. Hmmm... Daru hospital is where my blogger friend Malum's wife went, three years ago, for (by Australian standards) fairly simple post-natal treatment. And died. Daru hospital. Where they can't control the current cholera outbreak. Here's a little bit more of what Malum has to say about Daru:

Daru, the once-thriving former capital of Western province, has sadly become a forgotten backwater despite all the riches from the Ok Tedi mine.
It is a dismal-looking town covered by bush, potholes and very basic services such as health are wanting, as exemplified by the town’s hospital.

Head over to his blog, to read more.

So, the Australian Government, in its wisdom, is closing down services that scientists say are keeping new and virulent forms of TB from entering Australia. And their justification is that PNG can host them "in house" (hmmm.. that means "off shore" for Australia. Sound familiar??)

Let's just remember that Papua New Guinea is consistently ranked in the top most-corrupt nations in the world, by Transparency International’s (TI) 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index (along with Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Myanmar).

Here's a joke old timers tell up here.

The Australian Government give 10 million dollars to PNG for new roads/hospitals/schools. "Great!" says the PNG Government, "Thank you very much! But we're not going to spend it straight away, we're going to think about the best way to disperse the funds and wait a year. we're going to get together in 12 months to talk about it"

So, in 12 months time, the powers that be, here in PNG get together to discuss how best to spend the 8 million dollars. And they can't come to an agreement, except to wait 6 months and have a think about it.

So 6 months later, they meet, and the 6 million dollars is a big responsibility. Maybe they need to get more feedback from "grasroots" before they allocate?

So in another 6 months, they meet, and the 4 million dollars, so wonderfully donated by Australia, and they can't come to a decision because the Head of the working committee on how to spend this money has had to fly home to his remote tokplace for a haus crai.

So a few months later, they FINALLY decide what to do with the 2 million dollars. They'll use it for its intended purpose of roads/schools/hospitals!

So 2 years after the money is donated, a whopping big $600,000 is donated to **insert random Province's name**.

But now, the local Provinical Governemt must use it wisely. And guess what? They need to think about the $400,000 very carefully.

They'll get back to us in 12 months.