PNG govt to build modern hospitals in provinces
Quoting Radio New Zealand 22 May 2020
“Papua New Guinea's government will begin to build modern hospitals in the 22 provinces and one major upgraded referral Hospital in Port Moresby.
“The work is to begin next year and go into 2025 when the country celebrates 50 years of Independence.
“Prime Minister James Marape said work will begin on three to four provincial hospitals.
“He asked Provincial administrators to take a stock take of the health and education services in their provinces.
“Mr Marape said his government is all about decentralisation.
"We are a country of huge diversity and the government has a new generation of leaders who want to grow the provinces and I urge you all to think big, plan for the provinces and we will assist."
“He said funds are now being sent to the provinces and this will continue with the aim of building capacity and systems in the regions.”
Copyright @ 2020, Radio New Zealand
LATEST NEWS: Australia redirects $US65m to Pacific
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 20 May 2020
“Australia will spend $US65 million to help struggling Pacific countries meet basic costs.
“The halt in tourism caused by border closures, cuts to remittances and seasonal worker programmes and other effects of Covid-19 have been devastating for many Pacific economies.
“The funding will be redirected from the existing aid programme, and the government says it will provide respite for Pacific governments.
“A fifth of the money will go to Papua New Guinea, with the rest to be shared among nine other countries.”
Copyright @ 2020, Radio New Zealand.
20 May 2020
Australia – New Zealand and Pacific Islands states in a “travel bubble” post Covid-19
In May this year, I became aware that politicians in New Zealand and Australia began discussing the possibility of opening up borders to each other, creating a travel corridor – or “travel bubble.”
Both countries almost completely shut their borders to air travel in March, causing a huge blow to their respective tourism industries.
Now, with New Zealand having claimed success in bringing COVID-19 under control and with a decrease in coronavirus cases in Australia, politicians are again talking to each other about a so called “bubble’ plan when borders can be opened.
In new developments, as reported today by Radio New Zealand, Australia has said it would back the inclusion of Fiji in a trans-Tasman travel bubble.
Australia's High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes, has said no timeline had been set as Canberra and Wellington had yet to finalise a bilateral agreement.
But he said Australia wanted Fiji in its bubble alongside New Zealand.
My initial reaction when I read about Fiji’s possible inclusion in the possible future travel arrangement was to feel concerned for the Solomon Islands own position, knowing the country is COVID-19 free and now suffering the loss of tourism, I was heartened, however, by a report by Joshua Mcdonald who wrote in today’s South China Morning Post that there are calls for Australia and New Zealand to allow their pacific neighbours into any “Trans Tasman bubble” to help kick start economic activity.
Putting aside any thoughts of regional politics that might have a bearing on the possible creation of a regional travel arrangement post Covid-19, I would hope to see the travel ideas presently being mooted take off.
20 May 2020
Ear Science Institute in Australia offering hearing aids to the deaf community in the Solomon Islands.
I am pleased to be able to write and say that the Ear Science Institute in Australia has responded to my appeal for help in providing free deaf aids to the deaf community in the Solomon Islands.
Presently I am awaiting specific details of the type of deaf aids needed and how those needing such aids will be medically assessed and equipped.
The very kind offer of assistance by the Ear Science Institute is much appreciated.
Let me give a few details of the Institute by quoting from their webpage.
“The Ear Science Institute, Australia, is a not-for profit organization providing the West Australian community with a multidisciplinary approach to hearing health. The Institute is composed of four pillars, which systematically address the key areas of audiology practice and science.
“The Mission of the Institute is to help people with ear and hearing disorders through research, education, prevention and treatment.
“Established in 2001, Ear Science was originally named the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute in recognition of Perth’s Lions Club members – in particular, the decades’ long work of the Lions Hearing Foundation in hearing screening.
“100% of the donations the Institute receives helps to support research and those in need.”
The connection with the Lions Club is interesting for it should be recalled that Lions Clubs, through a similar appeal for eye glasses, resulted in Lions Clubs in New Zealand sending over 6000 pairs of spectacles via my partner charity. ‘Take My Hands.’ to the Honiara Referral Eye Centre in the past couple of years.
Once the assessment needs for the gift of hearing aids is made, I will provide a further update.
18 May 2020
Secondary education should be more accessible to children from poorer backgrounds.
Solomon Island’s Fee Free Basic Education policy, as I understand it, does not cover senior secondary levels and I guess it is at this level of school tuition parents are most often having difficulty in paying the school fees, but all the more now many parents have been laid off, become redundant and even lost their jobs because of the government’s measures, however necessary, that have been introduced to prevent coronavirus getting a foothold in the country.
The rate of ‘drop out’ by students in secondary education is high because many parents are simply unable to keep up with the school fees and the problem is more complicated when it comes to girls secondary education as some 44% of girls reportedly drop out due to early marriage and pregnancy.
Making secondary schooling more accessible to all children, especially the poorer population should be the aim of the government if it is to promote economic growth in the country by developing an educated and skilled population labour force.
When the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, last visited Honiara he spoke of his government’s plan to ‘step up Australia’s influence in the Pacific and pledged A$250 million from within the then aid budget for infrastructure projects across the Solomon Islands.
According to a subsequent news broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the funds would be redirected from health to education projects.
Prime Minister Morrison later said Australia would continue to be “very heavily committed to health and education” within the Solomon Islands and across the broader Pacific region.”
Did it occur that Australia actually committed funds to education when the Island’s Aid Investment Plan was reviewed, and I am assuming it has been?
In line with the Australian Government’s ‘step up ‘ plan (and the SIG’s biggest donor) will one see more of a focus in aid spending, from whatever donor source, towards education which would allow for free education in secondary schools making it possible for students from poorer backgrounds to access and acquire the education they surely deserve?
The educational disadvantage that exists as a result of poverty is a denial of a child’s human rights to education.