A fight against cancer

National, Normal


IT is shaping up to be a bleak Christmas for Ann and Gau Hoi of Central province.
Their son, Glen, had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and was now fighting for his life at the Port Moresby General Hospital (POMGH).
The only treatment available was  overseas and  comes at a cost – K300,000-plus to be exact.
Glen was diagnosed in early September in Madang and was referred to the POMGH for further treatment.
The family had decided to send him to Singapore for treatment which would have cost more than K300,000.
“We were in Port Moresby for my father’s funeral when Glen called from Madang and told us that he had lost two of his teeth and could not stop bleeding,” his father recalled.
“He later developed a sore on his upper lip.”
He was on antibiotics for a week and his condition was starting to worsen and so we took him to a private doctor.
He was given medication but that did not heal the sore,” Mr Hoi said.
Mr Hoi had travelled to Singapore to buy drugs to start Glen on chemotherapy.
That trip, including accommodation and doctor’s consultation, cost him about K7,000.
Their son would be referred to the cancer ward to be treated.
His parents were hoping that once his condition was stable, he would be able to fly to Singapore to continue the treatment.
They have also opted to go down to the Brisbane Hospital but it would cost them K342,000 and the payment must be made upfront before any assistance could be given.
POMGH senior surgeon Dr George Gende said cancer drugs were very expensive and were bought from private firms recommended by the WHO for third world countries.
Dr Gende said one treatment alone would cost up to K5,000.
Cancer patients needed six to seven treatments and the current budget was insufficient to cater
for that.