The National – Wednesday, February 9, 2011
By KARI TOTONA
A THREE-day symposium hosted under the public-private partnership effort will be staged from Feb 14-16 on the issue of alcohol abuse in Port Moresby.
The event is an initiative of the government through the law and justice sector and supported by stakeholders with assistance for a bigger coverage on the issue as bulk of the country’s problems are alcohol-related.
Companies that have come on board to initiate the symposium are, South Pacific Brewery and ExxonMobil with K50,000 each; Mineral Resources Development Company, and British American Tobacco with K20,000 each; Bank of Papua New Guinea K15,000; and the government with K200,000.
Law and justice sector secretariat director Joe Kanekane in his welcome speech said the overall sponsors of the symposium along with others will add to give a total of K500,000.
“It is a significant symposium that we would also like to bring to the provinces and I am pleased to say that three doctors from Mt Hagen, Lae and Nonga general hospitals will be flown in to see the depth of alcohol abuse from the medical perspective.
“They will tell us how much it cost to hospitalise those patients who come in with alcohol-related issue and see the true picture of abuse,” he said.
Meanwhile, acting chief secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc highlighted that it was very challenging for the government to control abuse associated with alcohol at the various levels in the society.
“Between 1963 and 1964 Papua New Guineans could not drink alcohol and now we are less than 50 years old and still developing and coping to deal with alcohol,” he said.
He said the main objective of the event was to share views and opinions and be better equipped with information to create a society that is safe for all and pave the way for stakeholders to better understand their role in addressing this problem.
“We are hopeful to set out a clear set of rules and regulations to better manage alcohol-related problems.
“Recommendations will be done to clearly assign between levels of government to see whose responsibility it is at each level,” he said.
Zurenuoc explained that alcohol abuse was a major problem in the country and without managing it the problem would erode the society.
“Alcohol abuse when left unmanaged will erode our communities and we must put an end to this.”
He urged the public to do the right thing by attending the symposium that will be held at the PNG IPA hall.