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O'Neill govt should admit PNG Health system in crisis : Sir Mekere

The Moresby North West MP, Sir Mekere Morauta, says the prime minister and Health Minister, should start listening to doctors, and patients, and admit that the country's health system is in crisis.

In a statement this afternoon, Sir Mekere highlighted recent statements by President of the PNG Doctors' Association, Doctor James Naipao and Professor Glen Mola from the Medical School, that the government is refusing to acknowledge and deal with urgent and serious issues affecting the health sector.

Doctor Naipao had said doctors were unhappy with “the way the Health Department bureaucrats and the Health Minister were painting a pretty picture of health-related issues when the reality was completely different.

Doctor Mola estimates that up to 5000 babies have died or been disabled since the end of 2016 when the country ran out of syphilis test kits.

He also confirms that the country has run out of HIV test kits and paediatric HIV drugs to prevent babies from contracting HIV from their mothers.

According to Doctor Mola, this will not only lead to about 2500 unnecessary infant HIV deaths each year, but it also puts the whole population at risk” and makes the management and treatment of TB harder, given the high rate of TB/HIV co-infection.

According to doctors, more than 100 lines of essential drugs and supplies are currently out of stock, including antibiotics, surgical gloves, sutures, fluids, and that very soon there will be a stock-out of HIV drugs as well.

Doctor Mola had warned the government not to be surprised if health workers just stop work because of these issues.

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