This follows the recent training in East New Britain Province that 13 of the 18 ward development committees (WDCs) underwent.
After the three-day training, participants were given two checklists to conduct a general community inspection as well as to inspect individual family homes. The checklists consist of 16 indicators each that focus on public health and general community cleanliness.
The LLG’s Environmental Health Officer (EHO), John Piga, said households that do not comply are issued a ‘Notice to Carry Out Work’ document that is stamped and signed by the respective Ward Member.
The period given to homeowners to address issues varies between 7, 14 and 21 days, and if not complied with, they are penalised under set bylaws of the wards.
The WDCs, through their sub-committees, have adopted bylaws endorsed by the Sinivit LLG Council, and there are less than 10 bylaws under the health sector.
Piga further explained that the health subcommittees are only responsible to conduct inspections at family homes, while it is his duty to inspect shops, business houses, institutions like health, education and churches, and even motor vehicles within the wards.
Health committee members from Rieit Ward and Sikut Ward 16, Niba Samuel and Darius Laura, said the training has helped them to better understand their roles and how to approach their duties, especially with inspections.
“We feel empowered and upskilled to go out and do our job as health committees within our respective wards. We know what to look for during the inspections and how to approach people in the wards, so as to improve living standards and generally public health,” said Mrs. Samuel.
Meanwhile, when asked about public cemeteries for their wards, Darius Laura said Sikut Ward 16 still needs a piece of land to be allocated, as since it is a settlement, people tend to bring their dead back to their original villages.
Mrs. Samuel also said Rieit needs additional land because their current public cemetery is running out of space and people have already started burying their dead near their family homes.
Piga said the issue on the absence of a public cemetery in most of the wards in the LLG has been looked into, and they are still awaiting responses from the provincial Division of Lands and Physical Planning to progress the matter.