Latest News: November 2021
e-NEWS COVID-19 is crippling PNG
PNG is currently crippled by Delta and misinformation. COVID’s Delta strain is overwhelming Papua New Guinea’s fragile health system, forcing the closure of Port Moresby’s only public hospital to non-critical care. With just 0.2 percent of PNG’s population currently vaccinated, the Delta strain of the virus is now spreading unchecked across the impoverished country, which is Australia’s nearest neighbour.
Last week, the Port Moresby General had more than 100 people who were dead on arrival to the hospital. It is planning a mass burial this week to clear space in the morgue. Lowy Institute Pacific program director Jonathan Pryke said social media misinformation and logistics difficulties had created “a degree of complacency in the system”, where COVID was viewed as simply another health challenge to add to the myriad of others facing the country.
“When [the pandemic] started, we thought that Papua New Guineans are immune to most of the simple flu-like illnesses and so we could withstand it,” CEO of the Central Provincial Health Authority, Dr James Amini said. “Unfortunately, this variant is different, and it passes on much more easily and is more fatal, so that’s why the urgency. I suppose our problem is we didn’t recognise the problem quickly and try to attack it earlier on.”
In the largely Christian country, the Christian religion has also been invoked by some to dissuade against vaccination, with claims it is a sign of the devil, or that people should trust God to save them. The PNG Council of Churches has just launched a campaign throwing its support behind the vaccine and encouraging people to get the jab.
Our CFK nurses have decided to become proactive and respond to the misinformation being spread across PNG, including on Kiriwina. Our social media campaign is targeted directly at the Kiriwinan people with translated posters and video, soon be distributed. They are receiving support however there has been some extremely inflammatory commentary, with many social media respondents refusing to believe anything the experts have to say, only believing the fake news widely available. We continue to monitor this conversation closely and the debate has warranted a longer version of the poster to be created, further trying to counter the misinformation.
CFK continues to translate and issue COVID-19 safety posters to Kiriwina while distributing PPE. The posters below are in the process of being distributed both in social media and in print.
Source: CFK poster easy read version: Australian Government: covid-19-vaccination-what-is-the-covid-19-vaccine-easy-read.docx
Source: CFK poster long version: https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/covid19_vaccine_common_myths_and_misconceptions.pdf