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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Kerema yu no save, yu yet kam na lukim

By Jacob Marcos-National Department of Health Senior Journalist

Sick patients at Malalaua Health Centre outside Kerema while at the back, unused medicinal drugs exposing to temperatures because of no limited and defunct storage facilities for the health centre
“Kerema yu no save, yu yet kam na lukim…” is an enchanted trademark-song for Papua New Guineans (PNG) about Kerema in Gulf Province a place that used to be known to local leaders as a“humble” place.

The song was sung by one of the country’s singing sensation and lead vocalist Robert Oika of the former Olimaea Band who sang about his province which captivated a lot of listeners nationwide and in the pacific region as well.

Unlike other upcoming singers who today sing about their soul mates, valleys and provinces, Oika’s song is truly is a living legend. 

Upon hearing the hit song in the 90s, I had the ambition to see that place one day.

It was of course on a blissful Sunday morning last week (03/04/16), a good time for me to travel to the Kerema with a team of medics from the National Department of Health.

Fifteen of us and two from Oil Search Foundation hit the popular Hiritano (Port Moresby-Kerema) Highway fully under the capable escort of the Oil Search Foundation, the sponsor itself. 

The ride was in fact a comfortable but memorable one because we were strictly on 90km/h as a perquisite safety measure for the Foundation though we had the feelings to be in Kerema at full-speed. 
NDoH staff taking a breath at the abandoned Kerema wharf, what would been a potential tourism spot if given the attention

Our purpose of the trip was to facilitate Health Standard Assessment Training program organised by Gulf Provincial Health Administration under an aspiring health leader and director Ben Bal.

The workshop included policies governing health workers’ administrative and clinical, primary and public health roles and provides guidelines and platform for infrastructural developments, risk management and safety, medico-legal aspects, work forces standards, human resource and pharmacy.

The program shed light to the health professionals in the province about their roles and responsibilities and health facilities should know which levels they come in and their requirements.

After a hefty eighth hours, I had a sigh of relief seeing the Kerema Gulf from a bird’s eye view but I did not realise that I was already in Kerema town. Sure it was that humble Kerema town I set foot on.  The impression of the town quickly took me back to Oika’s song-he really meant something in his song. 

Naked and incomplete Provincial Government Building due to misuse of funds. A local contractor abandoned it for almost two years.
The province that holds for potential tourism hotspot, gas, oil and existing logging activity has been literally neglected since independence. Government services were run down, literally no visual rehabilitation of existing infrastructure. No water supply system and there was no presence of Eda Ranu, no improved living and the place looked like a withdrawn paradise.

In fact all the health facilities were in dilapidated conditions and also required important life supporting tools.

No one has come to raise the concern of Kerema with singer Oika and I wondered where all those big Gulf names like Chrish Havieta, Governor Havila Kavo, Memafu Kapera, Mekere Morota and the names.

Literally it wasn’t that funny when the Provincial Administrator Marc Orisuru Avai uttered “welcome to humble Kerema town” in his welcome speech at the Kerema Catholic Hall.

During the weeklong worship, I had identified that if Kerema continues to receive a wayward ignorance by the government and business leaders in its distribution of goods and services, I will not wait to hear (not lukim) Gulf province coupled with problems and affects the rest of the nation in the near future and the government’s embracement for the fulfilment of country’s vision 2050 will be at stake.

Health workers attending the workshop revealed that the province lacked commitment from leaders and administrators and maintenance and poor road infrastructure and networks have become hindrances to health service delivery in the area.

More than ten church and government aid posts and health centres like Karoro, Moveave, Iokea, Uamai to name a few were run down and closed.
You would not believe it is Kerema town, the naked provincial government building is at the view.

It wasn’t just the condition of the health in Gulf but overall scenario of the province itself needs urgent intervention. The iconic building of the provincial and police headquarters stood naked. Millions of tax-payers hard earned money had gulfed into the wrong pipes under the sun.

I was in fact glad to hear from the Mr Avai speaking of his government’s desire and priority to ensuring “best medical” service care and such ego should resonant in the minds of other leaders in the province.

The health department hope to present their findings in four weeks time. The findings will put the province in radar and would help the chain of communication in the health department to be effective in solving matters concerning health.

With that, I hope to revisit a new Kerema with family and friends in the near future but to a new beat like “Beautiful Kei town, bai stretim tingting bilong yu…”

The team will conduct similar workshop in rest of the outstanding province after the presentation of Gulf findings.

Ends

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 6:10 PM. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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