Take care of your health

Editorial

HEALTH is vital to life in Papua New Guinea.
Health is everybody’s business.
Whether gardening, dancing, attending church, selling fish in the market or working in formal employment, all Papua New Guineans and their families benefit when each person participates fully.
We are facing threats to the health of our people.
Too many women die giving birth to our children.
Babies lose mothers and husbands lose wives.
Families, communities and workplaces lose the productive years of their women.
Our babies and young children under five years still die from preventable causes.
TB is an existing threat. Multi-drug-resistant-TB and extreme drug-resistant TB are looming threats.
HIV appears to be leveling in prevalence in some provinces but continues to increase rapidly in others. HIV also takes the productive years of our men and women.
Our health system is facing tough and complex challenges, in part derived from new pressures, such as ageing populations, growing prevalence of chronic illnesses including the procurement and distribution of medical supplies.
Somebody has to cop the blame for the shortage of medicine in the country.
The Health Department over the past weeks has come under the microscope of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee relating to the procurement and supply of medicine and medical kits worth more than K100 million to Borneo Pacific Pharmaceutical this year.
So many things have been uncovered such as medical drugs and kits intended for rural areas reached their destination and the reality that the Government’s free healthcare is all lies.
This is despite statements from the Health Department disputing the obvious crises of shortage of medical drugs.
The whole health system and, most importantly, the taxpayers who pay the officials’ salaries, are paying the price. They have to buy their own medicine.
We guess the next best option is for the general public to look after ourselves, do not fight, or drink and drive, and always wash our hands and to ensure our children are in a clean and safe environment.
This may sound trivial but this is reality as some hospitals are reporting a shortage of medicine while others have completely run out of stock.
Doctors use medicine to save lives and cure diseases and sicknesses. Without medicine and funding, one cannot accept doctors to help patients.
One way of helping ourselves is to start saving money in case we will need to buy medicines from pharmacies or private hospitals.
The sad reality is that not everyone can afford to purchase medicines from pharmacies or private hospitals. Let alone in rural areas, where there are no pharmacies or private hospitals.
The rural population of PNG want access to evidenced-based medicine and they care not who provides it, as long as it is up to date, timely and has positive outcomes.
And one cannot tell our rural medical officers to manage their stock level to last for an intended period as no one knows when an outbreak can strike.
The whip has been cracked, and those responsible for the mess should be held accountable.
The process of getting the much needed medical supplies delivered to the right place at the right time should be overhauled and a workable one in the near future.
Planning and effective management, as most senior officials are aware of, are important.

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