PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill took time off a tight national budget schedule to turn his attention to humanitarian aspects of East Sepik last Friday.
Accompanied by Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Richard Maru, Fisheries Minister Mao Zeming and Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll, O’Neill arrived at the Boram Airport to a warm welcome by acting provincial administrator Richard Kombo and students of St Mary’s Primary School.
He then presented an ambulance to Samaritan Aviation, a non-governmental organisation that specialises in evacuation and distribution of medical supplies to remote areas in a float plane.
“As you know, health is priority for this government and trying to build all facilities throughout the country is a big challenge,” O’Neill said.
“But I am pleased that your flight service has saved a lot of lives in this part of the country and I would like to thank you for your sacrifice.”
The new ambulance will replace an old truck used to transport patients from the airport to Wewak General Hospital.
The ambulance was purchased by the government using money from the Community Development Fund following a request from Maru.
“We have assisted in evacuations, saved 215 lives and transported 33,000 medical supplies to remote aid posts in the past three years but did not ask anyone to pay a single toea.
“We did all these flights freely because we want to share the love of Jesus in the work we do,” Samaritan Aviation director Mark Pam said.
“We are grateful to the government for the kind gesture as we remain committed to partner with other stakeholders to improve health services in East Sepik.”
Maru had described the hospital as the “most run down” hospital.
But he assured people of the national government’s commitment to upgrade the hospital, with proper equipment.
O’Neill handed over the first K2 million for hospital maintenance to Governor Sir Michael Somare when he visited the province early this year. The National