The man who was a staunch campaigner for the improvement of the National Cancer Treatment Center in Lae has died at the hospital he served in for more than 20 years.
Former Angau Hospital oncologist, Dr. John Niblet is understood to have died of various complications at about 7pm on Tuesday night with his wife, Andrea, at his hospital bedside.
As many of his close friends and colleagues began grieving for his loss, there has been a lot of anger expressed over the treatment of the cancer specialist in the 12 months leading up to his death.
In June 2016, Dr. John Niblet’s employment with the National Department of Health (NDOH) ended and he was told his contract would not be renewed. There was not much of a warning issued by the NDOH.
“The fact that they hadn’t told me until the last minute, whether I got a contract or not, I’ve been requesting information since before Christmas,” he said when speaking to EMTV News last year.
In March 2017, Dr. Niblet, who had been out of a job for more than six months was evicted from their rented accommodation in Lae. After seeking a court injunction on the grounds of his unpaid entitlements, the court issued orders for the NDOH to continue paying rentals until he was paid.
The NDOH never complied. The Health Secretary, Pascoe Kase who came under fire from the public said in a statement that Dr. Niblet’s entitlements had been processed and that they were “waiting for clearance from the Finance Department.”
Dr. Niblet’s plight was also raised in Parliament by the Lae MP, Loujaya Kouza who called on the government and the Prime Minister to intervene. The Prime Minister’s response was to call for Dr. Niblet’s reinstatement if a replacement could not be found quickly.
Dr. Niblet was also facing deportation as he waited for his entitlements to be paid. Close friends said his visa had expired and he faced the possibility of deportation by the Foreign Affairs Department and was stressed by the personal crisis.
“He served this country for 30 plus years,” said wife Andrea. “…and this is how he is treated.”