Health Department fails to supply anti-venom: CEO


By Rebecca Kuku
PORT Moresby General Hospital will be charging K15,000 for the snakebite anti-venom because the Health Department failed to supply it for a year, says chief executive officer Dr Umesh Gupta.
He said each vial of anti-venom cost K13,500 which was the cheapest available on the market.
Therefore, they will start charging K15,000 for the anti-venom from Monday.
Gupta made the statement after the hospital’s Director of Emergency Medicine Dr Sam Yockopua lashed out at the hospital for the new fees.
Yockopua said the K15,000 fee for anti-venom was going to make people revert to traditional cure and avoid coming to the hospital for help which could lead to tragic consequences. He said ordinary people could not afford the K15,000.
However, Gupta clarified that the K15,000 fee would only be charged to those who could afford it.
“The board, management, doctors and nurses of the Port Moresby General Hospital will not let any patient die for lack of funds,” Gupta said.
“Hence, we would like to collect some money from those who can afford it so that we can save those who cannot.”
Gupta said even though there were charges for the anti-venom, all the doctors were empowered to waive the charges for those who could not afford it.
“In an emergency (and especially like in snakebites) where time is of the essence, doctors will treat and ask questions later.”
Gupta said that they would simply rely on the goodness of people who might feel grateful enough to pay later on.
“But if they can’t, that is fine too, there will be no pressure on payments for such grievous conditions,” he said.
“People need to understand that we are only doing this because the Department of Health has been unable to supply a single (snakebite) anti-venom vial for almost a year.”

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