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World Sick Manus Island refugees not given interpreters

18:06  10 august  2018
18:06  10 august  2018 Source:   radionz.co.nz

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They have all been given the option of permanent residency in Papua New Guinea, or applying to resettle in Cambodia or Nauru, the location of a None of the men still on Manus have accepted the offer, according to reports. American officials said dozens if not hundreds of refugees from Manus

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Protesters holding banners march in Sydney to urge the Australian government to end the refugee crisis on Manus Island on November 4, 2017.© PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images Protesters holding banners march in Sydney to urge the Australian government to end the refugee crisis on Manus Island on November 4, 2017. Refugees receiving medical treatment in Papua New Guinea are no longer provided with interpreters, a Kurdish refugee says.

Despite a promise that interpreters would be available, the English speaking Kurd said he had to volunteer to help patients and doctors communicate.

Following last year's eviction from the detention centre on Manus Island, interpretation services were withdrawn from about 600 men exiled there by Australia.

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Refugees from Manus Island will today present a petition with 368 signatures calling on the PNG Supreme Court Many of us are sick and need treatment; many others are suffering mentally because we do not know our future. Sick Manus Island refugees not given interpreters . 13 Aug 2018.

Here, two refugees on Manus Island speak about the looming closure, in their own words. We have been given our medical records and a supply of our medication for one month, and they told us : "If you guys run out of medication or fall sick , or anything, you have to go to the local hospital."

Serious inadequacies and systematic failures with the men's healthcare have since been highlighted by the United Nations, Amnesty International and the Queensland Coroner.

Kurdish asylum seeker Benham Satah has been translating for refugees in Port Moresby's Pacific International Hospital.

He said a promise to provide interpreters by telephone had not been fulfilled.

"This is a problem because the men are giving consent to procedures they don't understand," Mr Satah said.

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Refugees held at Manus Island protest their treatment by the Australian government. The Manus Island facility had been a site of unmitigated human rights abuse, as with all of Australia’s immigration detention These principles applied to the sick , too; we cared for them now more than ever before.”

Refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island . A man barricaded inside the detention centre collapsed The man is among 600 refugees and asylum seekers barricaded inside the mothballed detention “Finally PNG immigration sent a car and picked up the sick refugee , after more than

"PNG Immigration put up a notice and promised telephone interpreters in Manus and also Port Moresby. Why don't we have them when we get sick?"

A refugee waiting for over a year for a hernia operation was given the wrong medication because of miscommunication, Mr Satah said.

"They apologised and said it was the wrong medicine. He was shivering for one whole night until morning," he said.

"With all the money that is being used for these contracts, providing interpreters shouldn't be hard for them but they are not doing it and people suffer."

The prevalence of mental health issues prevented many refugees from attending English lessons, previously available during their five year exile, the refugee said, meaning they often did not understand how to take medicines they were prescribed.

"They are not familiar with medical terms. It makes it very hard because there are forms that they need to sign," Mr Satah said.

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Manus Island is part of Manus Province in northern Papua New Guinea and is the largest of the Admiralty Islands . It is the fifth-largest island in Papua New Guinea, with an area of 2,100 km2

"When the doctor gives you some medicine that you need to take in your room, you don't know how to use it. All these issues makes it hard for everyone."

General practitioner and secretary of Doctors for Refugees Paddy McLisky said refugees receiving treatment needed to be made aware of the risks.

"Informed consent is extremely important in medicine. Whenever any doctor prescribes medication to a patient or performs a surgical procedure there is always a risk, no matter how small that risk, of the patient coming to harm.

"It's terribly important that they understand the rationale for being on that medication or having that procedure and also the risks involved."

Telephone interpreters could be found in Australia, Dr McLisky said.

"I understand that in some case interpreters haven't been provided. Certainly on Nauru, there may have been interpreters at times who haven't been utilised.

"If the interpreter is on the phone and there's a good clear phone line, and the interpreter is able to speak the language adequately then I think this is an adequate service."

The PNG Immigration Authority and Pacific International Hospital have been contacted for comment.

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