Church health services in PNG struggle on alone

5:33 pm on 5 February 2016

Papua New Guinea's Catholic Health Services is facing difficulty in accessing drugs to cope with serious TB and malaria problems in Western Province.

A move by government to cut funding for church-led health services has placed even more strain on the front line at a time when Western Province communities are struggling with a prolonged drought.

A Catholic Health Co-ordinator in Kiunga, Sister Anna Sanginawa, said the church is running out of drugs which it has to buy with its own funds from pharmaceutical companies in Port Moresby.

"That's why we have to find money elsewhere to get the money to buy drugs from the pharmacies and they are expensive, you know. The pharmacies also are putting up high costs."

Sister Sanginawa said she feels that this is not right because they need to really care for their own people, which she claims the government is not really serious about.

Blister packs containing tablets.

Photo: AFP

She said the church's ability to keep helping people get the treatment they need is severely affected by the lack of government assistance.

The National Planning Minister Charles Abel has confirmed that because of budget constraints, funding for the Church-State Partnership Programme in 2016 has been cut to 3.2 million US dollars from about 8 million.

However church representatives say very little of last year's allocation was paid out anyway.

Meanwhile, Sister Anna adds that many communities in drought-impacted regions of Western Province are still waiting for the government relief assistance.