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Representative gives keys to needy communty

By Caldron Laepa PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 11, 2009) –

FOR almost 20 years in Papua New Guinea, the people of Sogeri have been taking their sick relatives in vehicles unsuitable for transporting sick patients.

On Wednesday just before Kairuku Hiri MP Paru Aihi donated an ambulance to the Sogeri clinic; relatives of a sick person carried their relative on a stretcher into an open back small Dyna to be taken into Port Moresby for medical assistance.

That has been the story and struggle of patients referred from Sogeri clinic into Port Moresby General Hospital.

With no seat belts, no shade or proper designed beds for sick patients, patients from Sogeri clinic travel down the winding Sogeri road either in the cold misty nights or under the burning heat of the sun into Port Moresby.

But Wednesday marked a historical change for them when the ambulance was donated to the Sogeri clinic.

The little community there was pleased to have a vehicle that is designed to transport patients in comfort and safely.

Sogeri police station sergeant Max Maso who had spent 13 years living there said it was often very difficult to transport the sick.

He said once the police assisted to transport a mother in the night that was facing complication during labour.

However she died with her unborn child before making it into Port Moresby.

He said this sparked complaints for compensation from the relatives of the dead woman.

Sergeant Maso said her relatives came to the hospital and demanded that the police compensate them because the woman died in the police vehicle.

He said the issue of not having an ambulance led to the problem.

MP Aihi told those who gathered at the occasion to take ownership of the ambulance.

He said Kairuku Hiri was a very large electorate and the money given could not cater for the much needed infrastructure and basic services such as health.

Mr. Aihi assured the people that he would continue to deliver services to them.

He said this was despite a decrease in the District Service Improvement Program funds from 10 million kina [US$3.7 million] to 2 million kina [US$740,000] next year.

He said the ambulance should be used on the basis of user pay services.

The MP said his Join District Priority Budget Committee had done its job by giving the ambulance and now it was the people’s responsibility to maintain and take care of it.

Mr. Aihi also donated a double cab Mazda Bravo BT 50 to the Sogeri police station.

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