The National, Thursday 6th September, 2012
EYE care in Papua New Guinea received a shot in the arm with the launching of the National Prevention of Blindness Committee (NPBLC) in Port Moresby yesterday.
Speaking at the launch, chairperson of the committee Dr Jambi Garap said: “The eye is not an isolated organ. Impairment of vision affects people’s quality of life and opportunities to work and employment, and also contributes to poverty.”
She said eye care stakeholders from both the government and non-governmental organisations would work together under the NPBLC to address the major barriers to eye care services, which included disease control, human resources and infrastructure.
She said the eye care sector needed K16 million at the rate of K4 million per year for the next four to five years to bring eye care service standards to international and World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.
WHO standard is one doctor for every 100,000 patients.
However, in PNG the doctor-patient ratio is 1:500,000.
For a population of about seven million, PNG has only 18 ophthalmologists, out of which only 14 are practising.
Major eye care partners from around the country and the region were present at the launch which took place at the Medical Symposium, attended by more than 100 health practitioners.