8 Apr 2009

Anti-cervical cancer vaccine available in PNG at hefty fee

9:28 pm on 8 April 2009

The anti-cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, is now available to girls and women aged between nine and 26 in Papua New Guinea.

The private Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby is now offering the vaccine against the country's number one cancer that kills 3- and a half thousand women each year.

The hospital's head of obstetrics and gynecology, Dr Mathias Sapuri, says they have to charge 280 US dollars for each of the required three doses.

"It's expensive. As you know many Papua New Guineans may not be able to afford it. We are offering it through PIH. But at the same time we encourage the government through the department of health to look at the economics of it and see if they will be able to introduce it as a public programme in the public system."

Dr Mathias Sapuri says it would cost the government less to vaccinate women than to treat them against the cancer.