Wednesday, 15 February 2017

WAKE UP MALABAG - PNG Woman Dies While Waiting for Radiotherapy Treatment



Another Papua New Guinean woman has succumbed to cervical cancer while waiting for radiotherapy treatment.

Thirty-nine year old Late Winnie Mou Solien from Gaire in Central province is a mother of five children, all between the ages of 3 and 16 years old.


According to her medical report presented by Dr David Kundi, Radiation Oncology Registrar at ANGAU, Winnie was referred to the Radiotherapy and Oncology Depart of ANGAU Memorial Hospital in Lae for adjuvant chemo-radiotherapy after she underwent radical hysterectomy at the Port Moresby General Hospital. 


She was initially seen at PMGH on the 26th of May 2016 at 40 weeks gestation of 6th pregnancy with an antepartum hemorrhage (genital bleeding during pregnancy from the 28th week) which eventually turned out to be cancer of the cervix.


The gynecology team in PMGH initially planned to do Caesarean Werthiem's hysterectomy (invasive cervical cancer) but she eventually went into spontaneous labour and delivery. She underwent radical radical hysterectomy on the 9th of June and noted that she had an early stage 2B cervical lesion 


Histology reports from the surgical specimen showed sections of well differentiated squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), with perivascular involvement. Vaginal curf free of tumor and sections of lymph node showed 1 out of 3 tumor metastasis.


Winnie was referred to ANGAU on the 22nd November 2016 and she was presented to the the Radiotherapy (RT) and Oncology department clinic on the 2nd of December 2016. She was seen by the radiation oncologist and she was planned for radiotherapy treatment (External Beam Radiotherapy). Due to influx of patients during the month of November and December, the list of patients undergoing radiotherapy at ANGAU was full. Hence, she was booked to commence her treatment on the 4th January 2017.



Winnie was diagnosed with stage 2B Cervical cancer
"We resumed her radiotherapy on the 4th of January 2017. Our treatment was definitive radiotherapy. She was prescribed a total dose of 50.4Gy in 28 fraction External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT). 4 field technique using Cobalt 60 machine", the medical report stated.

According to Post Courier report dated February 2nd 2017, Doctor John Niblett, the only radiation oncologist currently in PNG, the late stage two of cervical cancer is not curative through surgery. He says if surgery is done, the cancer will come back.


Dr Niblett said radiation therapy of cervical cancer at stage two is 60% curable. stage three is 35-45% curable and stage four is 15% curable.


Winnie's family were trying their best to raise K50,000 for urgent overseas radiation treatment when she passed on in Port Moresby. 



Late Jacinta Tetiera suffered from stage 3B Cervical Cancer

In 2015, Jacinta Tetiera, who suffered from stage 3B cervical cancer wrote a letter to the Health Minister Michael Malabag for urgent attention into funding and operation the Cancer Treatment facility at ANGAU Hospital.

Below are extracts from Jacinta's letter to the Health Minister, which to date no efforts have been made to fix this probelm.

"Who then should be held accountable for this negligence? We hear every day about how cervical cancer takes lives of hundreds of women each year so what then is the Government doing about it? Before the Department of Health hides behind it’s so called protocols and procedures, maybe someone high up should make their way down to Angau’s Cancer Unit to see for themselves how their lack of action is decreasing the life span of cancer patients.
It is so easy to turn and look the other way when it is not your family member that is affected by a life threatening illness that can be effectively treated with the right equipment, medication and care. Those of you in The Health Department that are placed in positions that give you the power need to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Papua New Guineans. Many have to travel miles and miles to seek medical treatment or are sent from their home provinces to major hospitals for months and months just so that a mother, wife or sister does not succumb to the many gynaecological diseases that women in PNG face. The challenge is there; you either take it or let someone else take on the challenge.
I pay my taxes like every good citizen is supposed to, taxes that are too high, and with the high standard of living it becomes quite difficult to put aside large savings for rainy days. It bothers me to think that year in year out the government collects millions, in tax payer’s money and yet take a look at the public amenities that we are entitled to. Why do we even bother to pay our taxes? Unfortunately it is the law and we must abide by the law, as it is what governs our country. Of course we hear about new hospital wings or new classrooms being built or million kina road projects, the issue is not about new ward wings, school buildings or new road projects; it is about the upkeep, the maintenance of these public amenities that should be brought into light. 

I call on the Minister of Health to look into this; Sir what if it was your wife, daughter, sister or mother, what would you do? I guess it is easier for you because you would have the funds readily available to send your loved ones overseas. What about the rest of us?? Every day Papua New Guinean women; someone’s mother, wife, sister, grandmother… What do we do?

I am currently in a daunting position. I cannot have an operation to remove the cancer that continues to grow inside me unless I receive radiotherapy to reduce its size. The longer I go without the correct medical treatment the more the cancer will continue to grow and spread throughout my body. I have received countless blood transfusions in a short period of time, I am praying and hoping that the simulator will be fixed so that I just like many other people waiting, praying and hoping can receive the vital treatment we so desperately require. If it isn’t the cervical cancer that kills me first it will most likely be my internal organs shutting down as my haemoglobin levels continue to drop, and the lack of oxygen being carried throughout my body will be insufficient due to the very low red blood cell count."

Unfortunately Jacinta succumbed to the deadly disease in November 2016 while waiting for radiotherapy treatment, the same treatment that Winnie was suppose to get until her death.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

MADANG FC TO OFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - Rekindling the Beauty of Madang




By SYLVESTER GAWI - NBC Sports:

Madang is a province of diverse cultures as it is home to people from all parts of Papua New Guinea. Several years back, Madang was the pearl of the Pacific, a hot tourism destination that attracts tourists from all over the world to visit.

Since German missionaries establish the Catholic and Lutheran Churches in Madang in the late 1800s, soccer was also introduced to the natives who attended missionary teachings at that time.
Like any other cultures, Madang people have their ancestral beliefs and were much more reluctant to their traditional cultures than to the introduced Western cultures.

Soccer skills were passed on down by their forefathers and soon became an integral part of social activities among young men in the community. It brought villages, clans and tribes together and became a major unifying factor in the province.

Madang together with neighboring provinces, Morobe and the Sepiks are soccer loving people. A soccer game can forge strong friendship and built brotherhood and family ties among people from all walks of life.

Today Madang is on the brink of losing reputable beauty. Pothole-ridden roads and lawlessness have shaded the positivism in Madang people and countless criticisms were made on it’s administration. Critics have blamed the law and order breakdown on it’s political will, but no one considered taking up the challenge to make Madang great again.

While writing this, I am unfazed about the huge turnout of people (including drunkards) and the excitement every time I am in Madang to cover soccer whether it be in the National Soccer League or the Besta FA cup. Soccer is indeed in the heart of every resident in Madang.


When Madang defeated Hekari United in 2015 at Laiwaden, they made history becoming the first local team to have defeated the nine times NSL Champions. That same Madang and Momase brothers Lae City Dwellers created history by appearing in the Grand final in their maiden year (for LCD) and short football history.

Busloads, truckloads and even a bicycle convoy attended the grand final from Madang as supporters flocked into the Morobean capital to witness the first ever Momase grand final for NSL.

In two months’ time, the Madang flag will be flown across the Pacific as MFC will make their OFC Champions League debut under the pool vacated by Hekari United FC. While critics may spittle undermining words on the players, team and management on their eligibility and preparation, it’s high time to give international exposure on it’s pool of 100% local talents.

Credits must also be given to the Hekari United franchise who have worked so hard and committed millions of kina into raising the standard of soccer in PNG, through the NSL and the OFC Champions league through to representing PNG and Oceania at World Club Championships. Truly, Hekari is our Champion, a team that has set the benchmark and deserve all the praise.

Politicking within the administration of soccer in PNG cannot be left to pull the oxygen out of PNG soccer. We must work together to see our soccer talents are well and truly rewarded in their level of competition.

All in all, Madang FC can rekindle the sleeping town of Madang which is marred by petty criminals, lawlessness and deteriorating road infrastructures. Lets keep back some pride into the hearts and minds of Madang residents, give them hope that Madang can rise up from sick bed with the support of it’s people to see true developments happen within the mindsets of our people. For the love of soccer and for the love of beautiful Madang, let’s take back Madang for the future of our children.

All the best Madang FC and wishing you the best in the 2017 OFC Champions League

NB: All photographs courtesy of Melisa Tatut of Niugini Photographs based in Madang

Monday, 6 February 2017

LOMAI JOINS LAE SNAX TIGERS - Former Hunter Finds Home in Tigers' Den



BY SYLVESTER GAWI - NBC SPORTS

Twenty-four year old Southern Highlander Timothy Lomai has been snatched by Lae SNAX Tigers as a notable inclusion in the team for the Melanesian Cup in Fiji this February 18th.

Lomai started off his rugby league career playing for the Comfort Brothers Rugby League Club in the Hohola Off-season rugby league competition back in 2012 when he was scouted by the Port Moresby Vipers. Since then he stayed with the Vipers before joining the PNG Hunters in 2014 when it was first launched.

The young Pangian was dropped from Michael Marum's final 29-squad on technical grounds that he (Lomai) failed his fitness test. However Lomai has welcomed the decision saying he has found a new home in the Tiger's den. He described the Tigers' camp as different from the Hunters, with a friendly environment where players can interact with the coach and management.

"I feel more comfortable here (Tigers camp), that's the spirit that I've been missing," Lomai told me over the phone from his room at Papuan Compound.

" I am going to keep my head down and work hard, and if I get recalled, it will be the Tigers' management who will make the decision for me."



Lomai has been named in Stanley Tepend's 18-men squad that will play Fiji's Nadi Aviators in the Melanesian Champions Cup challenge in Sigatoka, Fiji on February 18th.

"It's a great opportunity to take the challenge, being named in the starting line up at prop and I am aiming to give my best in the Melanesian cup. It will be a bonus to add to my rugby league profile."

Tigers Coach Stanley Tepend told NBC Sports that they have five of their key players to the Hunters this season, but are working tirelessly to get replacements in during the pre-season training. Lomai has been a notable inclusion who will replace Tigers' X-Factor David "Locomotion" Loko in the forwards. Lomai may not be available in the second row but has been slotted into the front row but will lead a much heavier front-line this season.

"I am confident with this new responsibility. I have played David (Loko) during the innaugural year of the Hunters and we played together in the second row. I am capable of giving my best up front,"Lomai told NBC Sports.

Lomai leads a young crop of Tigers' train on squad who are vying for their first semi professional debut with the Morobean franchise. Among the players are former Hela Wigman Wesa Tenza who was also named in the extended bench for the Melanesian Cup.

" I have happily settled in the Tigers camp and had been leading the young players in the training. It's all about motivation and helping younger players to define their roles in the team. It's such a great opportunity," Lomai says when describing the Tigers franchise as the most professional team in PNG rugby.

Meanwhile other notable inclusions in the Tigers train on squad camp for 2017 are former Mendi Muruks player Toari Kenake and other rugby union prospects from Kimbe and Lae which includeds current PNG Turagus Morobe Hammerheads Jason Pitbang.


Sunday, 5 February 2017

MOROBEAN DREAM - 40years of Wasted Opportunities



By SYLVESTER GAWI:

In my dream, I stood on the coast of Langemark Bay in Finchaffen when the first christian missionary set foot on the island of New Guinea. My fathers and forefathers set around under the mango trees at Simbang village and listened attentively as Senior Johannes Flierl teaches them on the word of God.

The following weeks and months they walked the mountains and crossed the rivers as they preached the Gospel to every huts and fireplace they came to rest. The mission extended to every villages in Morobe and continued up to the Highlands region.

The Lutheran Church played a vital role in Morobe, particularly in setting up schools and colleges which brings in young students from other provinces. One of them was pioneer Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Thomas Somare who did his high school at Dregerhaffen in Morobe province.

Morobe from the remnants of the World War II transformed into a beautiful province that boasts a culturally diversified heritage and ecotourism spot in the Pacific. It's strategically the heartbeat of PNG being the industrial hub in the ports and shipping and manufacturing industries.

It's a massive economical pot of gold that is yet to unleash it's full potential as the leader in agriculture, fisheries and the extractive minerals industry.

But after 40-years of independence, there are stills lots of challenges that continues to affect the delivery of basic services to the rural population. Most importantly providing accessibility and market for the massive tonnes of coffee, cocoa, tobacco, fisheries and marine resources.

I am dreaming of a Morobe which will be connected by roads from the most remotest village in Waria in Garaina to the hinterlands of Teptep in Kabwum. From the cold mountains of Menyamya where the best organic coffee grows, passing through the golden valleys of Wau-Bulolo down the Watut River communities where cocoa is a thriving commodity.

Across the Sarawaget Mountain ranges lies pristine waters and a rain forests that houses a vast habitat of ecotourism of different bird species and plants that cannot be found elsewhere in the world. I can see mothers struggling to carry their tobacco (brus) bags up and down the slippery slopes of Wain and Erap. Mothers in Nabak are still walking distances to seek medical assistance.

The Markham Valley which is said to become the food bowl of PNG, farmers still faces alot of challenges in getting their projects up and running. There are backlog of issues in relation to Incorporated Land Groups that has seen several key projects not getting off ground.

The Markham River is slowly eating away it's banks closing into the highway which is also riddled with lakes of potholes. The Markhams are fearless hunters and warriors, their women are very supportive in working their land. They own large portions of land areas which holds greater economic values in their families.

Towards the northern coastlines of Morobe, preferably the Kotec and Dedua speaking people of Finschaffen, Sialum and Kabwum these are very historical places.

Finchaffen is the birthplace of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG and also boasts one of the first archaeological sites in the world. With a wharf, an airstrip and a thriving economy of fisheries and garden food supplies, the small township of Gagidu can become a hot tourist attraction.

The people of Kabwum are organic coffee and tobacco farmers. Their major challenge is the accessibility in bringing their produces to the market  and getting supplies of medicines and books for schools in the district.

I still dream of seeing a railway route running through the Sarawaget range into Lae or even a road connecting the neighboring districts of Nawaeb and Markham so that farmers can save money on the high costs of airfreight.

Siassi Island is home to several thousands of people who inherited strong cultural ways of fishing, gardening and observing traditional ceremonies. The early establishment of the Catholic Church on the island also set up schools and health facilities for the people. Much of these infrastructures have deteriorated overtime.

Siassi has a huge potential in agri-business and can become one of the most sustainable industries for cocoa and copra, but today the lack of government support has seen young people turning to marijuana and homebrew for fast income.

Down south towards along the Huon Gulf of Morobe, Salamaua is another historical site that holds the remnants of the world war two and the Japanesse occupation during the war. Relics of war bunkers and the remains of the first bank in PNG can be found in Salamaua. A breathtaking view of the calm waters of Huon Gulf and Lae city makes it a perfect a getaway paradise for tourists.

Twenty-years from now, Salamaua is expected to become the marine and tourism hotspot in PNG, given it's scenic views and hosts of fresh tunas that dominated it's pristine and calm waters.

Morobeans dream a lot about the future of this beautiful unique province. I am looking forward to the day when Lae City will give the best business environment for investors, a trouble free city for it's residents and most importantly create more jobs and business opportunities for every Papua New Guinean that calls Lae his/her home.

Lae is on it's way to transformation. One of the first step a Morobean dreamer can take is through the electoral process of voting for a leader in the elections. Remember, no dreamer is dreaming in isolation, we are all looking forward to see our city and province prosper in the next five to ten years.

We have started everything, from Lutheran Church to educating the first Prime Minister of this nation, let us go back and revisit the past to make the dream a reality.





Friday, 3 February 2017

CANCER PATIENT APPEAL - Help a Mother, Save a Family



Thirty-nine year old Winnie Mou Solien from Gaire in Central province is a mother of five children, all between the ages of 3 and 16 years old.

According to her medical report presented by Dr David Kundi, Radation Oncology Registrar aat ANGAU, Winnie was referred to the Radiotherapy and Oncology Depart of ANGAU Memorial Hospital in Lae for adjuvant chemo-radiotherapy after she underwent radical hysterectomy at the Port Moresby General Hospital. 

She was initially seen at PMGH on the 26th of May 2016 at 40 weeks gestation of 6th pregnancy with an antepartum hemorrhage (genital bleeding during pregnancy from the 28th week) which eventually turned out to be cancer of the cervix.

The gynecology team in PMGH initially planned to do Caesarean Werthiem's hysterectomy (invasive cervical cancer) but she eventually went into spontaneous labour and delivery. She underwent radical radical hysterectomy on the 9th of June and noted that she had an early stage 2B cervical lesion 

Histology reports from the surgical specimen showed sections of well differentiated squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), with pervascular involvement. Vaginal curf free of tumor and sections of lymph node showed 1 out of 3 tumor metastasis.

Winnie was referred to ANGAU on the 22nd November 2016 and she was presented to the the Radiotherapy (RT) and Oncology department clinic on the 2nd of December 2016. She was seen by the radiation oncologist and she was planned for radiotherapy treatment (External Beam Radiotherapy). Due to influx of patients during the month of November and December, the list of patients undergoing radiotherapy at ANGAU was full. Hence, she was booked to commence her treatment on the 4th January 2017.

"We resumed her radiotherapy on the 4th of January 2017. Our treatment was definitive radiotherapy. She was prescribed a total dose of 50.4Gy in 28 fraction External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT). 4 field technique using Cobalt 60 machine", the medical report stated.

According to Post Courier report dated February 2nd 2017, Doctor John Niblett, the only radiation oncologist currently in PNG, the late stage two of cervical cancer is not curative through surgery. He says if surgery is done, the cancer will come back.

Dr Niblett said radiation theraphy of cervical cancer at stage two is 60% curable. stage three is 35-45% curablea nd stage four is 15% curable.

Winnie now needs to raise K50,000 in the next four weeks for urgent overseas radiation treatment. This is while waiting for the National Government to confirm when the next radiation oncologist will be replaced after the previous oncologist left in December 2016.

Winnie's husband Jerry Solien says there is no specialist oncologist available to carry out radiotherapy treatment on his wife.

Mr Solien left his job in 2016 to look after his wife and had so far spent about K6,000 to bring his wife to Lae to seek treatment at the ANGAU cancer facility. He is now faced with a massive task of raising K50,000 for his wife to recieve treatment at a hospital in Manila Philipines. The K50,000 is for the treatment alone and does not include travel and living allowances which are expected to total up to K100,000.

For more details to assist, you can call Mr Solien or his younger sister on 75349282 and 79166279.

Donations can be made to account number 6001460758, Westpac Bank, Waigani branch, under account name Gini Segana Katrina Solien.





Wednesday, 1 February 2017

7th PNG GAMES IN LIMBO - Games Deferred to September 2017



The 7th PNG Games has been postponed for the second time with only a month to go before the game kicks off in the West New Britain capital, Kimbe in March.

Team Morobe, the defending champions of the PNG Games is one of several provincial teams that expressed disappointment when hearing of the news. Team Morobe was heading into it's final stages of high performance training and preparations to travel to Kimbe. It's uniforms and merchandises arrived from Philippines this week and were soon to be distributed when the news was received.

It is understood that funding constraints may be a factor affecting the organisation of the PNG Games in Kimbe. Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko who authorized the deferral of the games from November 2016 to March 2017 recently came out in the media saying that preparations was 90% completed.

While millions have been pumped into the preparation for the FIFA U20 Womens World Cup in Port Moresby lats year, the PNG Games (where talents are identified) was overlooked and the concentration immediately switched over to the APEC meeting in 2018.

The success of the 2015 Pacific Games is a direct result of the PNG Games in recent years and it should be run to maintain consistency in our athletes' preparations.

Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko denied the deferral of the games, but says the PNG games is set to start in March.

Lae City and Morobe province played host to the 6th PNG Games and it was a success with all preparations completed within the time frame.

An official media statement is yet to be released with details of why the games is being deferred but it is understood funding delays for preparations on ground must have been .

Keep following this blog for more updates