PNG health worker despairs at drug-buying problems
Papua New Guinea's Catholic Health Services is facing difficulty in accessing drugs to cope with serious TB and malaria problems in Western Province as the government cuts funding.
Papua New Guinea's Catholic Health Services is facing difficulty in accessing drugs to cope with serious TB and malaria problems in Western Province.
Cuts to government 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.
The government says that due to budget constraints, its funding to the Church-State Partnership Programme in 2016 has had to be cut to 3.2 million US dollars from about 8 million.
A Catholic Health Coordinator in Kiunga, Sister Anna Sanginawa told Johnny Blades, funding had already dried up last year.
ANNA SANGINAWA: We at Catholic Church Services, we are really running out of drugs. Which we are looking for ways to help our people, especially Mala-1, the new malaria treatment. So I was going through our bishop, Bishop Giles Cotes who tried to find money elsewhere, and so that's how we are keeping our people, still going, coming, and we are helping them, through our small clinic and health centres and aid posts, so we are still getting drugs supplied, buying it from pharmaceutical companies in Port Moresby, with the drug warehouse, also does not have Mala-1. It's a big problem.
JOHNNY BLADES: So the Catholic Church is buying its own, you can't wait for the government, you're doing it yourself?
AS: We are buying it from the pharmaceutical companies like Johnson's pharmacy and different pharmacies that we are buying medicine. Our bishop helped to get some money, we started off with CBC, Catholic Bishops Conference in Port Moresby, they have given some money, which I can't remember the amount that they gave. So we started off by buying the drugs for all our people, and then different people from different religious orders gave money to buy medicine - which I feel is not right. It is the government's responsibility to give us money to buy all these things.
JB: Is this for malaria or TB or both?
AS: All of them, we are buying drugs. We are still putting the two monthly orders to the base medical store in Port Moresby and I think the government has contracted LD Logistics to do all this which they are doing it, but then the drugs we really need are not in the box. That's something that we are facing, it is very hard and difficult. 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 the high cost of that money. So I feel like this is not right because we really need to care for our own people, and the government's isn't really serious about it.
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