Daily Archives: April 4, 2012

Kimanus Wenda’s tumour operation

22 March 2012

[Translated by TAPOL] 

Papuan detainee Kimanus Wenda being examined by the doctor at Dian Harapan Hospital in Waena, Jayapura. ©Peneas Lokbere

KIMANUS WENDA, a prisoner usually detained in Nabire prison had an operation to remove a tumour from his stomach at Dian Harapan Hospital, Waena Jayapura on 14 March 2012.  Wenda is detained for treason (makar) and is serving a 20 year prison sentence.

According to Peneas Lokbere from United for Truth (Bersatu Untuk Kebenaran), an organisation which provides support for political prisoners in Papua, the operation began at 10:00 and lasted for two hours.

“After the operation he was transferred to the inpatient ward. The procedure went well without any obstacles,” said Lokbere.  A growth and a hernia were operated on, and he was given six stitches.

Wenda was hospitalised until Saturday 17 March 2012. On Satuday, Dr Trajanus Lauretius said that Kimanus could go “home” to the jail in Abepura, but that every Tuesday he needs a check-up at the Dian Harapan Hospital.

Lokbere took Wenda to Abepura jail on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday Lokbere came back to bring his medication.   According to Lokbere, Kimanus Wenda said that two staff from the jail came into his cell.  All his belongings – including his clothes and medicines – were turned upside down with no clear reason.  He was offended by being treated in such an impolite manner while he was just recovering from an operation.

Kimanus Wenda is actually listed as a prisoner at Nabire jail.  However he cannot return to Nabire at present because he needs to recover properly first and have the stitches removed from his stomach.

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, Kimanus Wenda started
to complain of feeling ill in 2010, and was vomiting frequently.  The doctor at Nabire prison examined him and said that he needed to be examined in Jayapura.   However, the Ministry for Justice and Human Rights said that they could not pay for an operation in Jayapura.  They claimed they didn’t have the money to cover the costs of the operation.

An official of Nabire jail disagreed that Wenda was ill.  The proof?  Kimanus Wenda could still play volleyball in the prison field in Nabire.  His obstructive behaviour prompted Peneas Lokbere to gather funds for Wenda’s operation. Various non-governmental organisations have contributed to the cost of the journey, transfer between the Nabire and Abepura prisons, and the medication for Kimanus Wenda.

According to the Facebook page of TAPOL, an organisation which provides support for political prisoners, their internet fundraising campaign using the gofundme.com website raised £2,000, [which included £1,040 in direct donations and an anonymous private donation of £1,000 – TAPOL]. They channelled the funds through Peneas Lokbere and friends in Jayapura.

At present, Lokbere is monitoring Kimanus Wenda’s recovery in Abepura prison.  Once he recovers and the stitches are out, Wenda will return to Nabire prison.  According to Indonesian law, the Indonesian government is responsible for providing prisoners with healthcare.

However, the problem of budgets is often used by the Ministry for Justice and Human Rights as an excuse for not complying with this regulation.

Ironically, the Indonesian government has also banned the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from working in Papua since March 2009, despite the fact that ICRC often helps the families of prisoners to visit the detainees.  The ICRC also usually gives support for medication for prisoners, no matter who they are.

Peneas Lokbere and TAPOL are now collecting funds for an operation for Jefrai Murib who is currently in Biak prison.   Jefrai Murib is suspected of having suffered a stroke on 19 December 2011.  The left side of his body and his left arm and leg have lost all sensation. Murib has been examined at the Biak General Hospital, where the doctor’s diagnosis was that he needs to be examined at the General Hospital in Jayapura.


Medical personnel seriously lacking in Papua

JUBI, 2 April 2012

Taking into account the vastness of the territory of the Province of Papua, there is a serious shortage of medical personnel here. Moreover, the ratio between the number of medical personnel and the number of hospitals and clinics is also far too low.

‘If you take into account the number of hospitals, clinics and medical centres, I reckon that the shortage of medical personnel amounts to as much as 2,700,’ said the Head of the Provincial Medical Services in Papua, Josef Rinta Rachatmaka.

He said that as a way of reducing this shortage, the Provincial Medical Services intends, in co-ordination with the Agency for Personnel Education and Training in the Province of Papua, to look more closely at the data about healthcare personnel in the area.

‘On the basis of our present calculations, the number of healthcare personnel in Papua is very low indeed.. With 20 hospitals, 310 clinics and 760 healthcare centres, we need a further 2,700 medical personnel,’ he said. He said in particular that there was a need for more medical personnel in the medical health centres that are spread right across the territory.

He said that the shortage would become even more acute if new hospitals were built. The medical personnel includes the number of doctors, midwives, dieticians and so on. The key factor in any healthcare provision is that there is the right number of personnel. However many medicaments and however much money is available, if there are not enough personnel, then nothing will function properly. While agreeing that there are enough facilities, the most important thing is to have enough medical personnel. ‘Many of the facilities we have here are standing empty.’

He went on to say that whenever there are plans to build new hospitals, if the personnel are simply taken from those at the already existing facilities, this would only lead to a further lack of personnel. He said that they plan to open up new diploma courses for nurses, midwives and dieticians.’We very much hope that, as new healthcare facilities are built, there will be a sufficient number of personnel and not continue with the situation as it is at present.’

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]