Priest laments PNG’s shocking child health statistics

A Catholic priest in Papua New Guinea has condemned the nation’s shocking child health statistics.

Writing in PNG’s Catholic Reporter, Fr John Glynn of the We Care Foundation in Port Moresby pointed to United Nation’s statistics that he called “terrifying in their implications”.

Fr Glynn wrote that 45 per cent of PNG children have stunted growth due to their being malnourished almost from birth.

“It also means that their brains are undernourished and they do not reach their full level of mental ability,” he wrote.

Fr Glynn also pointed to Australian and local research that showed 80 per cent of PNG people are “functionally illiterate and uneducated”.

“Now we are told that almost half of our children are growing up physically and mentally retarded.”

But Fr Glynn said that, of course, the suffering, malnourished children are not “our” children.

“They are not the children of the blessed 20 per cent of the population who are educated, employed and able to take care of themselves and share in the increasing wealth of this lucky country.

“The one child in 13 who dies before the age of 5, the 14 in every hundred who suffer from ‘wasting’ diseases and die by the age of six or seven, and the rest who grow up physically and mentally retarded are the children of the 80 per cent of the population who are illiterate, uneducated and in many cases suffer from extreme poverty.”

Fr Glynn said this situation should be completely intolerable and unacceptable to every thinking PNG citizen.

“There should be an outcry from every corner of the country for a war on poverty and ignorance.

“But, of course, this won’t happen. The poor have no voice.”

Such people are invisible in modern mainstream and social media, and so can be easily ignored, Fr Glynn lamented.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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