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K50mil for medicine

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By OGIA MIAMEL
THE Government has released K50 million to the Health Department to fix the medicine shortage problem, according to Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Sir Puka Temu.
He told the PNG Medical Society annual medical symposium in Port Moresby that he managed to convince Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel to release the funds immediately.
He told Abel that if it was not done, “all (medical) facilities will run out of drugs”.
Hospitals have been facing the shortage of medicines since March and identified six pharmaceutical companies to be responsible for the procurement and distribution of medicine.
Sir Puka said the department had been operating on an annual basis as regards to the procurement of medicines. This will be changed.
“I have instructed the secretary to do a two-year programme so that I can go to the Government and secure the resources early so that we don’t have to worry about the six-month drugs buffer,” he said.
He also plans to strengthen the system to ensure the supply and distribution of medicine flow smoothly and effectively.
“We are looking at bringing in experts in the logistics management supplies to make sure that these medical supply procurement shipping from overseas, and the logistics company that we have awarded contracts to, are there on time and paid on time and they are moving drugs to hospitals and health centres quickly,” Sir Puka said.
He said drugs and medical supplies were the top priority to ensure doctors and nurses carried out their work effectively.
Meanwhile, the Australian government has committed K200million to support and fast-track the upgrading of the Angau Cancer Centre in Lae.
Sir Puka said they were working with the Pacific International Hospital (PIH) on sharing expertise.
“We have identified specialists and we are negotiating to share their technical expert, maybe three days in Lae and two days at PIH,” he said.
He plans to table in this month’s sitting of Parliament the Radiation Control and Management Bill.
“This will allow us, through the new legislative framework, to address cancer so we can handle the issue of breast and cervical cancers in women and cancers in men as well,” he said.

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