Health disasters waiting to happen

Letters, Normal

The National

I WOULD like to convey my condolences to the families and relatives of all those who have died in the cholera outbreak in Morobe province and commend all those who have been working tirelessly to contain the spread of this outbreak.
I have been following the situation closely and feel embarrassed by our public servants’ attitude.
Firstly, health awareness is non-existent in Morobe.
Suddenly, health awareness campaigns mushroomed following the cholera outbreak.
There is no excuse why this important activity was neglected all this while.
Secondly, the response from Morobe provincial health authorities is a reactive measure.
We need to be pro-active and start thinking strategically about how we are going to counter such outbreaks in future.
Questions that need answers are:
* Why were there no drugs at health centres and aid posts?; 
* Why is there a shortage of staff?; and
* How come there are no replacement for those who have retired or retrenched?
I will not be wrong if I were to say the first thing public servants blame is lack of or nil funding.
But just look at how much money had been and continue to be abused and diverted.
Look at how much money has been wasted on administrative costs to attend meetings, hold conferences in hotels, etc.
Thirdly, it is about time we, public servants, review our ethical values and question ourselves whether we are truly serving the public’s interest or our own.
I am totally shocked to learn the first case of cholera outbreak in Wasu was reported to health authorities a month ago but nobody took any notice.
It was only when the World Health Organisation stepped in and we decided to follow them that “all hell broke loose”.
Let us get our priorities right and be seen to be accountable to our own people.
Finally, it is really frustrating when the National Government took its own sweet time to declare a state of disaster in Morobe.
Why is it taking a wait and see approach?
For all purposes and intents, the Morobe provincial government should have acted immediately instead of playing musical chairs and follow the leader.
Where was the governor?
When it comes to declaring a state of emergency to protect some rich foreign-owned investments, we see the Government using all its resources and powers.
But when it comes to saving the lives of its own people, forget it!
May God protect Morobe province and its people.


Franco Wawen
Via email