By CLARISSA MOI
A DRUG treatment targeted at killing cancer cells for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is now available to patients in the country’s hospitals.
This has been made possible with a three-way partnership – Port Moresby General Hospital cancer unit, who will be coordinating this, Post PNG Ltd and Sesago Healthcare Ltd.
Port Moresby General Hospital oncologist Dr Peter Olali said the distribution of drugs to other centres outside Port Moresby had always been an issue and this assistance was a relief.
Dr Olali said usually patients outside Port Moresby would make arrangement with their relatives who collected drugs and sent them to patients at their own cost. “There was no coordinated pathway that we could distribute this drug to them (patients),” he sadi.
“We’ve had this issue of bringing the drugs to the provinces.
He said they then approached Sesago who agreed to help at its own cost.
“This is a big relief for us. We are very pleased and welcome this initiative.”
Dr Olali said the drug treatment, targeted at killing cancer cells specifically for CML, was discovered in 2001 and the country started coordinating it in 2008.
CML is a slowly progressing and uncommon type of blood-cell cancer that begins in the bone marrow.
Dr Olali added that the provinces now had coordinating centres.
“Any doctor in the country who suspects that a patient has got this leukemia, they refer them to us,” he said. “We collect their blood and send it down to Australia for gene analysis.
“Once the result comes back and is positive, we start them with this medicine.
“But before (that), we register them online so the international body is supplying us with those drugs.
“So once we run out of stock, we go back to them.”
Sesago Healthcare Ltd sales and marketing manager Pradeep Panda said the company would be funding the distribution of the treatment across the country through Post PNG’s logistic service.
By CLARISSA MOI