Is Mola trying to supress progress?

Letters, Normal

I READ with interest the arguments for and against the Pacific Medical Centre.
I am not an expert in the field of health sciences, but due to my medical condition, I have come to realise that PMC is the way to go.
I would use my case as an example.
I was diagnosed with a kidney stone sitting on the lower pole of my left kidney in 2008.
The stone was 5cm in diameter and was considered very big.
My doctor, who happens to be PNG’s only qualified urologist, advised that I have to seek treatment overseas using advanced surgical equipment.
The mode of operation proposed was per cutaneous nephrolithomy (PCNL), very advance internal surgery through the use of tubes as opposed to open surgery.
He further said that extra corporal shockwave lithotrispy (ESWL) may be applied thereafter to free up the kidney from any stones residuals. 
Initially, I could not believe what the doctor said.
So I sought second opinion by visiting private medical centres in Port Moresby, hoping that one would be able to provide these services.
To my disappointment, no clinic, even the two so-called international standard hospitals in Port Moresby boasting the latest equipment, were unable to do it.
The solution remains going overseas.
Then in March this year, we had group of specialists from Australia who were here to carry out minor kidney operations and I fronted up at PMGH to register my name.
I was shocked to see more than 200 patients turning up.
Sadly, only 30 were selected while the rest of us were rejected because our cases are considered complicated.
There are thousands of us in this country suffering from kidney disease and we were looking forward to the opening of the PMC in 2013.
For me, to go overseas is an expensive exercise – surgery fees of more than K35,000; return airfares for two K6,000; accommodation K4,000 and possibly another K11,000 for follow-up visits and other medical-related costs.
This adds up K56,000.
This figure does not include airport tax, visa fees and transport to and from hospital.
Along with food, the bill will probably total some K60,000.
If the operation were to be done in PNG, it may cost some K30,000.
This amount will be easily absorbed through medical insurance and help from families and friends. 
Psychologically, patients will be at ease as we are at home and do not have to worry too much about ensuring the budget does not blow up.
Reading the arguments from specialists, I am convinced that PMC will be more of plus in the long run.
PMC will enhance capacity building in modern medical sciences.
Our local doctors will have the benefit of advancing their knowledge and skills with different medical cases.
They will be exposed to new working environment, acquiring much needed work ethics and culture from their counterparts.
I am sure interested organisations like UPNG medical school, in which Prof Glen Mola is a senior lecturer, will benefit a lot by having its students doing residency at the PMC.
What is wrong with having the PMC?
It is not a casino, a six-star hotel or a Falcon jet to whisk the grand chief to Singapore for medical attention.
It is a project centred on human care.
Look closely at Dr Mathias Sapuri’s proposal to have adequate insurance coverage for our people.
It is one of the best moves to counter this unnecessary fear of exorbitant hospital fees.
Even the good doctor has revealed that some insurance companies have withdrawn overseas cover, thus making it almost impossible for our people to gain access to medical facilities abroad.
He is a human being and he is talking sense.
He is very keen to assist the government to establish a state-of-the-art hospital.
All it requires is the input of stakeholders to make sure this life-saving project becomes viable for us.
If the best PNG brains remain silent and hesitant to back this project, then put us there.
I am willing to be a board member.
We had been tagged as “talkers” already, so let us take action now.
People suffering from kidney and heart problems, cervix cancer, bone marrow cancer and brain cancer need an assurance that they have a fighting chance to lead a longer life.
I call on Mola to be sincere and honest and support his fellow gynaecologists and specialists to offer his unbiased professional advise to the grand chief and other leaders of this country over the PMC.
We are not talking about profit and sustainability, we are talking about saving lives.
Build it, I say.


Sickk Choy
Via email