Monday, June 8, 2015

1) Geopolitical storm looms over MSG decision

2) Mimika’s way of combating  malaria

1) Geopolitical storm looms over MSG decision
Updated at 5:55 pm today
Johnny Blades, Radio New Zealand International -
A geopolitical storm is coming to a head in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The Pacific islands sub-regional organisation is considering a membership bid by West Papuans of Indonesia.
MSG member governments are struggling to balance their growing ties to Jakarta with regional grassroots support for the indigenous people of West Papua where a separatist conflict has simmered for decades.
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua was formed last year when Vanuatu hosted a reunification summit for West Papuan representative groups. This includes groups is aiming for independence from Indonesia. The groups came together to launch a new bid to join the MSG after an earlier application by a West Papuan group was deemed by MSG leaders, including Papua New Guinea's Peter O'Neill, not to be representative enough of West Papuans.
"We feel that it must be representative of all Melanesians living in Indonesia," said O'Neill, "and that the application be made in consultation with the Indonesian government."
Now, MSG leaders are grappling with whether to admit the West Papuans or to defer to an arrangement for membership of all five Indonesian provinces with traces of Melanesian ethnicity. Indonesia, which says it has eleven million Melanesians, already has observer status at the MSG and is opposed to the Papuans' bid.
Last month, Fiji's prime minister Frank Bainimarama said the best thing to do was to make Indonesia an associate MSG member, adding it made no sense to bring in Papua separately. This has drawn criticism from Fiji civil society leaders like Shamima Ali of the Fiji's Women's Crisis Centre.
"It's a big shame on Melanesian leaders, particularly Fiji and the others who are pussy-footing around the issue, and they are not very clear - apart from Vanuatu of course," she said.
"So I think they have really gone back on their word from supporting the West Papuan Liberation Movement to what it is now saying about Indonesia being in a position to decide what is happening and to address the human rights abuses and so on."

Jakarta places fresh emphasis on solving Papua matters

With four trips to Papua region in the past year, Indonesia's new president Joko Widodo has placed new emphasis on resolving social and development problems in Papua. Jokowi, as he is called, made headlines in his most recent trip there last month when he freed five Papuan political prisoners and declared that the effective ban on foreign journalists in Papua was lifted. Subsequent comments by Indonesian government figures indicate that the restrictions were not being relaxed at all. Just this week, he has also been contradicted by a government minister on his signal that there would be an end to the transmigration programme, which has seen hundreds of thousands of Javanese relocated to Papua over the past few dacades.
The president's aims to solve Papua issues face significant obstacles because he is relatively weak and beholden to other interests both within his own party and the national legislature. However Jokowi's administration is placing increasing value on the MSG membership. His last Papua jaunt was followed by a visit to Port Moresby where PNG's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato insisted that any West Papuan bid to join the MSG should be endorsed by Indonesia.
"It's not for us to force Indonesia on how to run their affairs," said Pato.

Pato said that if there was an application, the MSG wanted to ensure that it was representative of the Melanesian that they claimed to represent.
"So we don't want a group that is factionalised fully supported by one group of Melanesians living in the US or somewhere in Europe or Australia and then cause more problems than fix."
Indonesia has been taking steps to integrate more with Melanesian countries in areas of culture, trade and investment. Jakarta's new outreach included a recent tour to PNG, Solomon Islands and Fiji by Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. On offer for the Melanesian countries was twenty million US dollars for capacity development projects within the MSG.
Ms Marsudi also had talks with Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Sato Kilman. Mr Kilman's indication that his country could open an embassy in Jakarta appeared at odds with Vanuatu's long-held support for West Papua independence. Little surprise then that this week, Vanuatu's prime minister Joe Natuman sacked Mr Kilman. A spokesman for the prime minister, Kiery Manassah, said the foreign minister's representations on West Papua did not reflect the government's position.
"Indonesia has lobbied very hard to get Fiji and Papua New Guinea on side," explained Manassah. "Recently when we went to Japan for the PALM meeting, Prime Minister O'Neill also proposed to the prime minister (Natuman) that they're thinking of supporting Indonesia to become an associate member."
Kiery Manassah signalled that Vanuatu is weary of a shifting of the goalposts on the MSG issue.
"In line with the agreements from Noumea and Papua New Guinea, the MSG must discuss the West Papua application," he said. "If the Indonesians want to become an associate member, they have to follow the same process, by applying."

Solomon Islands position in the balance

Of the five full MSG members, Vanuatu and New Caledonia's indigenous Kanak movement, the FLNKS, have voiced support for the West Papuan bid. PNG and Fiji appear to be leaning against it. Solomon Islands is somewhere in the middle.
Its foreign minister, Milner Tozaka, said the government hasn't made a decision yet.
"This is a process we have to follow. We can't just make decisions on an ad hoc basis," said the minister. "And Solomon Islands has made a position in the last government, we have not made a statement yet, we are following up that decision that they made. And if there is going to be any variation, we need to talk about it in the coming meeting."

A Solomons MP Derrick Manuari expressed disappointment in his country's lack of conviction on the issue despite what he described as overwhelming support from Melanesia's public for West Papua.
"I think it is very sad to see Melanesian leaders singing a distorted tune. The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea initially supported the cause for West Papua to be a member of MSG however he is singing now a different tune and Bainimarama is also saying the same thing. But we don't see that as an appropriate approach of addressing the issues of MSG. "
The West Makira MP said the precedent had been set in the case of the Kanaks who were given MSG membership rights over France.
"It is not a sovereignty issue - it is a solidarity issue, of solidarity of Melanesian states, Melanesian territories in Melanesia. So the precedent is already set. That West Papua as a Melanesian state should be admitted as a member of MSG and not Indonesia. It's not Melanesia."
Mr Manuari urged MSG leaders when they meet for their annual summit in Honiara later this month to remember the reason the group was originally founded - to help the decolonisation of Melanesian peoples.

Indonesia position respected

Vanuatu's new foreign minister, Kalfau Moli said Vanuatu's support for West Papua remained firm, even though the government respects Indonesia's intentions with the MSG.
"Vanuatu's position as a sovereign state is that we want to address the human rights issue and then consider the supposed political independence. However having said that, it is very important that a clear forum be put in place before we can look at the issues. But I am very much for a human rights drive."
With Indonesia asserting its own Melanesian traces and growing links with governments of other Melanesian countries, the MSG leaders may look for some sort of compromise arrangement on the matter of the West Papuan membership bid. Alternately, a decision on the bid could also be deferred, as it was at the last leaders summit in Noumea. The Honiara summit may not neccessarily be the end of the matter, and the storm may pass by for the time being. But sooner or later, the MSG may have to make an emphatic move on this most divisive of issues.
2) Mimika’s way of combating  malaria
Sudibyo M. Wiradji, The Jakarta Post | Supplement | Mon, June 08 2015, 9:44 AM -
All-out efforts are underway to turn Mimika in Papua into a malaria-free regency by 2026 through intensive collaboration.

Within the framework of national development, in which health issues are a completely integral part, continuous endeavors to enhance the level of people’s health are on the government agenda.

Success in handling health issues plays an essential role in boosting the quality and competitiveness of Indonesian human resources.

Malaria remains one of the contagious diseases affecting people’s welfare levels and that is why the government issued Health Ministerial Decree No. 293/2009 on malaria elimination programs in Indonesia. It aims to realize a vision to enable people to livehealthily, free of malaria.

Under the government’s big plan, the programs are being conducted in stages, with Papua and West Papua province, along with Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and North Maluku, targeted to be malaria-free regions in 2030.

Several provinces, especially in Java, have been relatively free of malaria as they received the program much earlier. Conversely, Papua is still witnessing a high incidence of malaria.

In Mimika regency, for instance, malaria is considered the number-one disease in all health facilities,creating burdensome problems as it leads to a decline in working productivity and also an increase in the risk of anemia for pregnant women and children.

Data at Mimika’s Malaria Control Center, known as the Malaria Center, shows that more than 80,000 malaria-related cases are diagnosed in Mimika regency each year, resulting in soaring health costs that the government, private sector and public have to bear.

“Sixty six percent of malaria patients in Mimika are of working age. It is predicted that more than 150,000 working days are lost due to malaria each year,” the data says.


Well aware that malaria has become a real menace having an adverse impact on the people, the Mimika Health Office, Amungme-Kamoro Community Development Institute (LPMAK), PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) and other stakeholders have been making joint all-out efforts to combat malaria. They have even an ambition to turn Mimika into a malaria-free region by 2026, four years earlier than the government’s target of 2030.

“We have adequate resources and hopefully, with the supportof people and all parties, we can achieve our ambition,” said SaifulTaqin, Secretary of the Mimika Health Office.

Mimika regency’s commitment to malaria eradication has been indicated through the presence of the Malaria Center. It was established under Mimika Regent Decision Letter No. 226/2013, an implementation of the Mimika Regency Regulation No. 3/2013 on the guidelinesfor malaria eradication in Mimika regency.

Highlighting the significant presence of the Malaria Center, Saiful said that the center had allowed involved parties to boost their collaboration in jointly combating malaria instead of “working individually and separately in this regard as several parties did in the past”.

“We want to have the same perception that malaria is our common problem, our enemy that we have to face together. The Malaria Center can accommodate all potentials from different components in Mimika regency, which supports the malaria-elimination program,” he said.

Unlike malaria centers in other regencies that function as a mere place for coordination, the one in Mimika serves both as a coordinator and executor. The center plays a role in advocating, coordinating and facilitating the implementation of malaria control programs in Mimika.

With adequate resources and facilities, Mimika can portray the latest situation regarding malaria so that if there are malaria-related cases, they can be detected at the earliest possible opportunity and handled immediately.

The center is a blend of partners’ contributions, with each having its own complementary role to play.

LPMAK provides operational funds used for paying the salaries of 48 employees at the center. LPMAK is an NGO created by PTFI, with the task of managing its Partnership Fund for Community Development in and around the area of operation of PTFI.

PTFI donates vehicles, long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, work equipment, medical materials and supervision. The Mimika Health Office provides bed nets and a secretariat, while the Health Ministry provides insecticide and bed nets. Bank Papua has donated two operational vehicles.

Integrated activities

Through the center, integrated activities are conducted to protect individuals from possible malaria infection through the installment of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets; control of the spread of mosquito vectors through indoor residual spraying and drainage cleanliness; active detection and treatment through door-to-door blood checks; and education on health.

Targeted areas include Jalan Baru, Kwamki Baru, Jalan Ahmad Yani, Kompleks Social, Kebon Sirih, Gorong-Gorong, Koperapoka, Sempan, Inauga and Nawaripi.

When it comes to malaria-elimination efforts, PTFI has a success story to share, which may serve as a model of how to create malaria-free areas, as it initiated a malaria-eradication drive several decades ago when several employees were infected by malaria, leaving them dead.

The malaria-eradication campaign kicked off in 1992 in what was once a thick and tranquil forest, Kuala Kencana in Timika. Environmentally well-managed Kuala Kencana is currently home to almost 60 percent of PTFI employees.

“We want all employees to be healthy because healthy employees can stay productive, which is good for our company and community,” said Kerry Yarangga, Community Health Development Manager of PTFI.

The handling of malaria was conducted comprehensively, from early detection to treatment, monitoring and preventive measures, by building the right drainage, sanitation and conducting environmental management to avert the possible multiplication of larvae.

“There should not be water inundation that allows larvae to multiply,” he said.

The right drainage which allows water to flow freely can effectively prevent larvaefrom multiplying and thus, it can reduce malaria cases.

Kota KualaKencana, with a population of about 5,000, was declared free of malaria in 1996 and “since then we do not have to install bed nets and we no longer have to conduct indoor residual spraying”.

Despite Kota KualaKencana being a malaria-free area, PTFI did not look down upon the disease, which may someday return, but shared the best practices with neighboring areas. Therefore, the company decided to be an active partner in combating malaria in Mimika through the Malaria Center.

“Areas where Freeport operates have changed a lot and become more complex and so only through partnerships can we jointly cope with malaria,” he said.

Laying a good foundation

Since the Mimika malaria-eradication drive started in 2013, malaria-related cases have dropped significantly in Kota Timika, Mimika. In the first quarter of 2015, the number of cases at Puskesmas (community health centers) was recorded at 523, compared to 2,955, or an 82 percent decrease. This means reducing the workload at the Puskesmas.

Meanwhile in Mimika, malaria cases were reported at 50,029 in 2014, compared to 93,068 in 2013 and 112,792 in 2012. The significant drop was attributable to the integrated program that included indoor residual spraying that reached more than 24,000 houses, distribution of more than 64,000 bed nets, and treatment of positive 446 cases, according to data at the Mimika Regency’s Health Office in 2014.

The significant drop in malaria cases resulting from the malaria-elimination drive is encouraging news for the parties involved but program sustainability is what they are starting to ponder.

Through partnership, cases ofdeath caused by malaria have shown a downward trend, which means favoring the people economically because “if they are sick they have to spend money for treatment at a hospital or a clinic and besides, they cannot go to work, which will reduce their income,” said Yusuf Nugroho, Health Bureau Chief of LPMAK.

LPMAK, which positions itself with the people, has a dream of making the Malaria Center increasingly autonomous and sustainable. “As a self-supporting institution, we may, for one thing or another, stop our activity, but the control of diseases, especially malaria, should continue,” Yusuf Nugroho added.

“Apart from making a direct intervention, we have also laid a good foundation for coping with malaria in a well-structured and organized manner and in this way, other agencies or organizations may be interested in becoming donors. By laying a good foundation, we hope that sustainable programs can be ensured,” he said.

“Even though PTFI is strongly committed to allocating funds for the program, it would be better if we could also generate funds from other sources for the program to ensure sustainability,” he said.

Saiful highlighted elements engaged in the Malaria Center as a way of ensuring sustainable programs. “The Malaria Center should involve as many elements as possible, be it government, companies and non-governmental organizations, and each make its own contribution and play its own role. That way, the malaria-elimination program can continue to run,” he said.
Partners for Change

This page is produced by The Jakarta Post in cooperation with Company-Community Partnerships for Health in Indonesia (CCPHI). It promotes best practices in community partnerships. For more information, contact the Supplements & Supplemental Products section at

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