Soldiers find communities on Track poor in education and health


A Defence Force woman doctor who walked the Black Cat Trail between Wau and Salamaua in Morobe says communities there lack basic education and health services.
Medical officer Patricia Watoka was the only woman among 21 soldiers from the Engineering Battalion at Igam Barracks, in Lae, who completed the gruelling trek last week.
“The sad thing to say is that the only aid post at Mubo village that I saw was rundown,” she said.
“There are no health services reaching the majority of the people along the trail.
“These people have to walk some distance to get to the nearest health post for medical attention, either at Wau or Salamaua.
“It is quite challenging for a sick person to walk that distance while some have suffered and died as a result.”
Watoka said she attended to more than 300 patients who still needed to get full medical attention.
She said it was sad to see them suffer and the Government had to help.
Captain Levi Derek said spending five nights between Wau and Salamaua opened the eyes of the soldiers to how health and education have deteriorated over the years.
“Communities along the track also lack other government services,” he said.
Derek said the local people had suffered badly since the trail was closed in 2013 after an attack on trekkers.