An emotional Sir Manasupe, the Government’s top public servant, revealed this in an exclusive interview with The National yesterday, after consulting Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Sir Manasupe, 55, is from Sattelberg in Finschhafen, Morobe. H
e is a lawyer by profession.
Sir Manasupe fell ill in March 2014 and had been diagnosed with the disease, which had affected notable world figures such as boxer Muhammad Ali, former President George Bush Senior, the late Pope John Paul 11, evangelist Billy Graham and actor Michael J Fox.
Sir Manasupe said many people had noticed in the past year that he had been experiencing problems with mobility, and was no longer able to go to meetings, or stand for long periods in the sun.
“I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease,” Sir Manasupe said.
“I wish to thank everyone who has passed on their best wishes and included me in their prayers. I am very fortunate to have been diagnosed early, and with the right medication and support, I am looking forward to the future.
“I may not be running marathons but I will certainly continue to contribute in other ways. However, I had advised the Government that I was leaving to pursue other interests at the end of my contract in August this year.
“The Government has been in search of a new Chief Secretary to replace me. They have not been able to find a replacement for me as yet, and have extended my employment contract to February 2016, to find a new Chief Secretary and for me to wind up outstanding matters.”
Sir Manasupe thanked family and friends for their ongoing support, understanding and prayers.
“I want to thank in particular, my wife Lady Josephine, for her love and untiring efforts in caring for me since I was diagnosed with the disease,” he said.
“Good care is essential for Parkinson’s sufferers. I am fortunate to have that.”
Sir Manasupe rose to become Morobe provincial secretary, provincial administrator, and secretary for Provincial Affairs before becoming Chief Secretary.
“Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that affects a person’s mobility. It is not contagious and is not life-threatening.
“Nobody knows what causes Parkinson’s disease. But it is a very common disease in other countries and affects nearly all families.
“It is most likely that many people have Parkinson’s disease in PNG but they have not been diagnosed. The condition is not life-threatening and is not contagious.
“All vital organs continue to function as normal. It has no bearing on my mental capacity. I am on the world’s best medication for Parkinson’s.
“I would encourage everyone to find out more about Parkinson’s disease.
“You can visit www.michaeljfox.org or www.parkinsons.org.au for more information.”