PM REFUSING TO FUND TB FIGHT WHILE WASTING MONEY ON SHOWPIECE EVENTS

by PAUL REINBARA
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Health Minister Michael Malabag are allowing Papua New Guineans to die because of their refusal to fund the national fight against tuberculosis.
A secret letter from O’Neill to Malabag shows that the Prime Minister would rather spend money on wasteful showpieces and events than preventing TB and saving lives.
Cabinet approved urgent tuberculosis spending of K20 million more than six months ago, but the Prime Minister is refusing to release the funds.
Instead, he has directed Malabag to commit K8 million of existing funds.
But this is only for Daru in Western Province – and TB experts say it is nowhere near enough to tackle the TB crisis there.
Many more Western Province people will die because of  the refusal of O’Neill and Malabag to approve new funds for the nationwide TB campaign.
There is also a TB crisis in NCD and Gulf and Central Provinces.
But O’Neill and Malabag have decided that people there can die, too.
Meanwhile O’Neill is continuing his “bread and circus” policy of spending on showpiece events and infrastructure to distract people from the financial crisis caused by his corruption, greed and mismanagement.
The “bread and circus” policy is part of PNC’s campaigning for the 2017 election, and spending is expected to increase, once again to the detriment of essential spending on health and education.
The free health and free education policies are no longer being funded.,
The financial crisis has got so bad that public servants are no longer being paid their salaries and entitlements regularly or in full, putting further pressure on the health system
The health crisis is made worse by O’Neill’s decision to halve funding for church-led programs to about K6 million.
This O’Neill decision in itself is also causing more deaths and suffering, especially in rural areas. In many places – for example in Western Province – hospitals and aid posts are closing and more deaths and suffering have resulted.
O’Neill’s letter to Malabag calls for the existing funds to be used on a media campaign (more spin and no action). It also confines action to Daru, despite referring to the crisis in Gulf and Western.
The national Department of Health and the World Health Organisation recently said the need for the Government to contribute K20 million to a national campaign was now critical:
“The problem of TB throughout the country and in particular the Multi-Drug-Resistant TB situation in three hotspots (National Capital District, Daru and Gulf) is a matter of great national concern.
“The problem of MDR-TB in Daru is unprecedented in a population of this size; containment of MDR-TB in Daru is a matter of the UTMOST URGENCY.
“The cost of inaction will be catastrophic in terms of lives lost, and astronomical in terms of financial cost.”
How many more deaths are O’Neill and his PNC crooks and cronies going to cause?

PM's letter to Health Minister