PNG Health Minister urges MPs to put politics aside


Papua New Guinea Health Minister Jelta Wong has appealed for Members of Parliament to put aside party and personal politics and focus on the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking in Parliament this week, Wong advocated for MPs to unify and help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wong said “This is also a time when we need to put any party or personal politics aside in the interests of National Safety.

“As our country deals with this crisis it is no time for senseless politics – we need all Leaders to put differences aside, and work with a common resolve to fight back against COVID-19”.

Although Wong didn’t specify who, he said certain leaders are peddling conspiracy theories and are non-believers in vaccination.

Wong said “Sadly, some non-believers in this House have stood up and spoken against vaccination and contributed to fake news.

“Some have even claimed COVID-19 is not real, which is ridiculous considering the number of deaths we are now seeing from the Delta strain” he said.

Wong said “I ask how many leaders in this House have been encouraging their constituents to get vaccinated.

How many leaders are standing up and joining the Prime Minister to push for greater vaccination?”

“We all know the state of Provincial health services and with the wider uptake of vaccines, our people will not add to that burden – vaccination keeps people out of the healthcare system.”

“We need to work together to get more vaccines out in your provinces.

Our country needs all Leaders to be responsible on this important matter, to be responsible with your words and actions” he said.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Belden Namah is disappointed with the Government’s poor response to mitigating the current surge in Covid-19 cases.

“I’m disappointed to discover that hospitals are running out of basic emergency equipment (needed) to treat Covid-19 patients,” he said.

“Where has the K5.7 billion (US$1.6 billion) Covid-19 stimulus package gone?

“I have been calling from the beginning for funds to be spent on border provinces and for strict control on sea and air ports with international access.

“There has been no response.

“I have called without success for detailed audits on all Covid-19 funds.

“Now, we are hearing the shortage of basic equipment needed for Covid-19 treatment.

“We are (also) hearing the scare tactics of Covid-19 deaths spiking, of equipment shortages and of lockdowns and restrictions.

“I do not underestimate the seriousness of the pandemic but we cannot operate in ignorance.

“Two years is a long time to gather the most basic data on this disease to establish (its) trends and patterns.

“Only then can our response be effective,” Namah said.