Many dying from preventable diseases, says doctor


MANY people are dying of preventable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and cancer, while everyone is focusing on the Covid-19, a doctor says.
Deputy chairman of the PNG Health Board Dr Mathias Sapuri said while the Covid-19 pandemic was a major health issue that required the government’s focus, the health system must be strengthened to cope with the Covid-19 as well as existing health challenges.
Dr Sapuri said the government must be mindful of preventable deaths from other diseases due to the reduced availability of essential drugs and medicines while more attention was given to the Covid-19.
“Most of our routine health services have ceased or scaled down and significantly affecting our nation’s health service delivery,” he said.
“We do not know the actual figures yet but reports are saying (that) more deaths are occurring due to diseases like cancers, malaria, TB and others.”
Dr Sapuri said frontline health workers should be protected so they could continue serving the people.
This would avoid scaling down services that was experienced in Port Moresby and other parts of the country.
“Public must not be made to feel scared to go to hospitals and get treatment,” he said.
“People with existing diseases need care and treatment.”
Dr Sapuri said medicines from overseas and health consumable supplies for many other health conditions were way past the eight month deficit.
The non-availability of these medicines has resulted in patients not getting the treatment they needed.


  • Thank you Dr Sapuri. We have people dying everyday due to other sickness. Covid is making us loose sight of the real problems.

  • Thank you Dr M. Sapuri for sounding the alarm. It seems the government/health department are directing all attention towards the current global pandemic and other deadly health issues within the country are ignored. Can the CEOs/HEOs of all hospitals and health centres around the country (both public and private) provide stats on deaths related to other diseases to the health department and have them published on our officials newspapers on a daily/weekly basis? Let the people see the reality on the ground.

  • We have been living with covid-19 for some time now without realizing it until China made an issue out of it. Let others fight it out while we live our normal lives. Its good that a doctor has sounded the warning about this imbalance situation we have now due to the government closing down hospitals and concentrating on covid-19. Looks like they may have forgotten our terminally ill patients and those new cases requiring immediate attention that may be fatal if untreated!

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