Bill allows cancer treatment

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PARLIAMENT passed a bill yesterday to enable the treatment of cancer through radiotherapy.
The Radiation Safety and Control Bill 2018 and National Institute of Standards and Industrial Technology (Amendment) Bill 2018 were presented by Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Sir Puka Temu, pictured, in Parliament and supported by all MPs.
“Papua New Guinea’s diabetes and cancer rates continue to grow, and the treatment of cancer by radiotherapy involves the use of controlled doses of radiation derived from radiation sources,” Sir Puka said.
“Because of the lack of a regulatory framework, Cobalt-60, which is a radioactive source necessary for cancer treatment, could not be procured.
“The Angau Cancer Unit had been using Cobalt-60 for cancer radiotherapy treatment but after it became a threat to other countries’ domestic security, laws around the procurement of Cobalt-60 became tougher and we were not able to import it to treat cancer.
“So that is why it took a long time as we had to comply with international standards,”
Sir Puka said now that bill was passed they would import Cobalt-60 for the treatment of cancer through radiotherapy.
Minister for Trade and Commerce Wera Mori, said the bill would improve the safety of the country through the establishment of an effective legislative framework to protect the health and safety of people and would protect the environment from the harmful effects of radiation while allowing for its safe and beneficial use.
“The passing of the bill will allow PNG to make significant progress in meeting important international obligations and deliver a better quality of care for Papua New Guineans,” he said.