The National, Friday 24th August 2012
PAPUA New Guineans are lucky to have free cancer treatment in the country, the wife of oncologist Dr John Niblett, Andrea, said yesterday.
Andrea has in the past decade worked as a full-time volunteer to market the services of the National Cancer Treatment Centre, seek help and provide a human touch to patients and their guardians by cooking meals for them and counselling them.
Andrea, who is from the Philippines, helps her husband, who is wheelchair bound.
She said in her country and other developed nations, cancer patients sacrificed their personal wealth, time and resources just to get treatment.
She urged all Papua New Guineans to seek diagnosis early to have a better chance of being cured.
“PNG is lucky. Papua New Guineans are lucky cancer treatment in the country is free of charge and here at the centre we give patients a lot of self-respect and dignity,” she said.
“Cancer is not a death warrant, we have to arrest cancer in the early stages and to do that we need to have national cancer awareness to get patients to come in early.
“We can have a new centre in Port Moresby or elsewhere but first we have to train more personnel and get this centre fully equipped.
“My husband dreamt of making this a centre of excellence even though we are a developing country,” she said.
She said the centre would need greater separate funding to train at least four more people to replace her husband.
“We want it quickly when we ask for help because we are dealing with lives here,” she said.