Abal visits Middle Ramu

Momase, Normal

The National, Thursday, June 9th 2011

ACTING Prime Minister and Minister for Works Sam Abal spent a day visiting the disadvantaged and isolated Middle Ramu district in Madang last week.
He was accompanied by Attorney-General and regional member for Madang Sir Arnold Amet and former Madang politician Sir Peter Barter, who flew them in his helicopter to visit Josephstaal, Ananberg, Aiome, Foroko, Buna and Brahman.
The visit allowed the two leaders to gain some appreciation of the difficulties experienced in the district in accessing government services.
Middle Ramu is one of the most isolated and disadvantaged districts in the country and has one of the worst health indicators for child mortality and women dying during childbirth.
The AusAID-funded PNG Incentive Fund recently approved funding of a major health pro­ject to address the appalling health conditions in the province.
The project is being implemented by the Catholic archdiocese of Madang at a cost of K5.8 million.
That included the cost of building 30 health staff houses, restoration of three health centres at Josephstaal, Kwanga and Annenberg and the construction of seven aid posts. 
At Josephstaal, they were met by the president of Josephstaal and representatives of the Catholic church, who explained the difficulties they had experienced as a result of the closure of the road. 
Sir Arnold told the people the government had made a commitment to re-open the Josephstaal road.
Sir Peter said the roads works had to be done during the dry season to avoid the project being delayed another year during which time more children and women would die.
They then flew to Annanberg and visited the school and health centre.
After Annanberg, they flew to Aiome and visited the Anglican high school which had been closed for a week because a sanitary system failure. 
At Aiome, they were met by school headmaster Robin Dobaba, district administrator Edmund Ombenba and deputy ad­ministrator Pasua Kuholi, who again explained the difficulties in providing basic services to the people and keeping the high school open. 
At Foroko, a community made up of people from the Shrader Mountains, Sir Arnold said the government had started constructing a road from Mt Hagen to Madang.
They also flew to see the Banu bridge built at a cost of K20 million across the Ramu River.
Abal inspected bridges that had been washed away and buried by the Ramu River before flying back to Madang late in the afternoon.