Pathology in PNG

Pathology laboratory opens in Port Moresby

Don't Chew betel nut

Don't Chew Betel Nut, Don't Smoke, Reduce Alcohol, Eat Healthy, Exercise Regularly

Fighting Cervice Cancer in PNG

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Creator Supports NCD HPV Pilot Vaccination Program

Choosing Food

The science of taste: Why we choose fries over broccoli

PNG's MRI Scanner

Public health system in PNG gets first MRI scanner

Monday, November 30, 2015

32,000 living with HIV in PNG

AN estimated 32,000 people are living with HIV in the country, although there are thousands others living with the virus but do not know it, an official says.
As the nation celebrates World Aids Day today, Peter Bire, the director of the National AIDS Council secretariat, said the “incidence rate is decreasing or stabilising to around 2000 new cases per year”.
“The national average adult prevalence rate is 0.65 per cent,” he said.
“However, unfortunately, the prevalence rate is much higher in certain key or most-at-risk populations such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgenders, including those with TB and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“Therefore, one can say that the HIV epidemic is concentrated in these key populations and geographical regions.”
One of the people living with HIV, Maura Elaripe, yesterday told of how she struggled with HIV for 18 years.
Elaripe, 38, from Ihu district in Gulf, was diagnosed with HIV in 1997, when she was 18. She had graduated as a nurse and was into her first year of working when she contracted the disease.
“When I contracted the disease, there was no organisation, no policy or drugs to cater for that disease. There was nothing in place for HIV,” she said.
She began in 2001 to come out and tell her story to help people understand the problem and to help those like her.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Morobe needs K123m for rural health

MOROBE needs K123 million to ensure all its rural health facilities are functional within a year, provincial health chairman Jackty Yotipo says.
One aid post needs K60,000 to function in a year while all aid posts within one local level council require K1.35 million a year.
Yotipo said to manage 365 aid posts in 33 LLGs required K63 million annually but health centres and rural hospitals the figure would be K123 million.
“Lack of funds had resulted in the closure of 119 aid posts over the recent years.”
Yotipo was prompted by health issues raised in media by the special parliamentary committee regarding public reforms and service delivery  last week.
Provincial health adviser Dr Micah Yawing said they received functional grant of K1.7 million and K5 million additional from internal revenue.
However, Yotipo said the amounts were “peanuts” and inadequate to cater for operations of rural health facilities in 33 Local Level Goverments.
 Meanwhile, Governor Kelly Naru said the closure of 119 aid posts was “most unwelcome”.
“We were in the process of reopening a lot of them but current budget cuts means more will be closed as the consequences of  government hell-bent on massive borrowing only to spend on luxury big ticket projects it wants in Port Moresby” Naru claimed.
He said that harsh conditions without accessibility to deliver drugs and patient referrals and staff welfare resulted in the relocation of orderlies.

TB not easy to treat, says WHO

 WORLD Health Organisation country representative Dr Peiter Van Mareen says multi-drug resistant TB is not easy to treat.
He said drugs and injections had a lot of side effects and caused much suffering for patients who had faced the treatment. “So going through that treatment for particularly drug resistant TB for two years is a huge undertaking on the side of the patient but also on the side of the health system,” he told a media conference on Wednesday. Van Mareen said in order to prevent the disease from spreading further, health professionals needed to identify those patients who were suffering from active TB and those who were spreading the disease whic was a challenge.

Drug-resistant TB high in Daru

THE number of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) cases per 1000 population in Daru, Western, are among the highest in the world, a doctor said.
World Health Organisation country representative Dr Peiter Van Mareen told that to a meeting in Port Moresby on Wednesday with PNG and Australian Government representatives.
They discussed ways to accelerate help for TB epidemic on the island.
“This problem is not by far under control, and for this reason a very strong emergency response is required,” Van Mareen said. He said that given the country’s geographical nature, difficulties and access to health facilities were a major challenge.
“We have a situation in Western province where multi-drug resistance TB has developed, we are talking about a totally different situation,” he said.
He said multi-drug resistance took a long time to treat and was very expensive to deal with.
He said that it caused a lot of pain and suffering, and was often a financial burden besides family members being affected by the disease. “This is not a problem that we will be able to solve in a couple of years.” Van Mareen said.
“We may have five to 10 years of effectively addressing this problem with all the efforts of the partners and the government.”
He said the Australian Government, WHO and government partners had discussed how they could appeal to the international community and to obtain to deal with.
He said there were many partners led by the Health Department to address the problem and needed more awareness to be carried out.
“We are fully aware of the problem but the population and many policy makers may actually not be fully aware of the magnitude.”

Project to address cancer in PNG

 A CERVICAL cancer screening project will be rolled out in January to address the scourge in the country, a doctor says.
Doctor Lutty Amos of the See and Treat cervical cancer screening project team, told The National that the purpose was to screen women for cervical cancer.
They hope to screen 2000 women in the first year of operation.  She said the “see and treat” method of screening used visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (vinegar). Treatment was piloted in the Goroka and Mt Hagen hospitals.
She said the only cancer unit in the country in Lae could not provide adequate or effective treatment “and is better off preventing cancer than focusing on treatment”.  
She said the screening method could be set up anywhere.
“We need to start here in the National Capital District first before going to other provinces,” Amos said.

Papua New Guineans should say no to family violence

THE district courts granted 1,182 interim protection orders to domestic violence survivors last year alone, as the Government works to improve the prosecution of offenders, an official says.
Department of Justice and Attorney General acting deputy secretary Roselyn Gwaibo said family and sexual violence was a pervasive problem for many countries, “and PNG is no exception”.
“We all know of someone - a friend, a wantok or a colleague - who is regularly suffering from violence at home,” Gwaibo said.
“This cannot be acceptable. There is never any excuse for it and it is a terrible abuse.”
She said a recent study showed 68 per cent of women employees experienced an average of eight gender-based violence incidents during the past year.
“Family and sexual violence ruins lives. It permanently scares children and hinders their growth into responsible adults,” she said.
“In multiple ways, family and sexual violence stops PNG from moving forward as a country.”
Gwaibo was speaking yesterday during the launching of the guidelines to support a referral pathway of services for survivors of family and sexual violence.
She said efforts continue to be made, with the support of the Australian Government, to improve the rate of prosecution of criminal cases involving family and sexual violence by the police and public prosecutor.
 “We all have to do whatever we can to stop this cycle of violence repeating itself. This also means that the Government and NGOs must work together and play their part,” Gwaibo said. “The law is only ever going to be part of the answer. The Family Protection Act came into operation in 2014. Regulations under the act will be made shortly.”
Police have established 14 family and sexual violence units around the country.  “Moves are underway to establish a national gender-based violence policy to guide government policy and budget support for other initiatives,” Gwaibo said.

Know your HIV status, get tested

AS International World AIDS Day is observed tomorrow (December 1), people are yet again reminded about the importance of getting tested and knowing their status.

"Know your status – get tested" is the message Anitua health coordinator John Kumb is promoting across the Anitua Group of Companies in the lead up to World AIDS Day.

Anitua’s SHEC Quality Assurance Administrator Rolec Suma said that "knowing your status is the first step towards living longer with HIV as the sooner someone knows that they are HIV positive then the sooner they can start taking the right medicine".

He said the increased levels of HIV/AIDS in PNG were related to the high levels of gender violence.

He said a reduction in sexual violence (rape) will result in a reduction in HIV/AIDS.

He said that "not knowing your HIV status was dangerous for you and dangerous for others – including the people you love."

"Even if you feel fine and healthy, HIV can quickly cause your health to deteriorate – eventually leading to full blown AIDS which causes death.

"Taking the right medicine early can stop this from happening.

"HIV is a communicable disease. This means that it can pass from one person to another.

"The most common way to catch HIV is through unprotected sex.

"Other than having no sex at all, wearing a condom is the best way to stop the sexual transmission of HIV.

"Only having one long-term sexual partner is also helpful," he said.

Jiwaka will not mark World AIDS Day

JIWAKA Province will not join the rest of the country to celebrate the World Aids Day because there are no funds available.

Provincial AIDS Co-coordinator Kuk Gola revealed this prior to tomorrow’s occasion which he said was sad.

He said in previous years Jiwaka actively participated in the World AIDS Day but for the first time Jiwaka would now miss out in the celebration because of lack of funds in its coffers.

Mr Gola said he tried to source funds from Jiwaka Provincial Government, Baptist Union, Provincial Health Division and National AIDS Council Secretariat but was unsuccessful.

Mr Gola said Jiwaka had 29 HIV/AIDS reporting facilities available and this was a big number for the province, because they would have high expectations to celebrate the World Aids Day.

He said the Provincial Aids Council was the responsibility of the Provincial Health Authority.

"Only K5000 was allocated to the Provincial Aids Council office for a year and this was not enough because we have used it already," Mr Gola said.

Mr Gola said according to records a total of 4778 people had voluntarily tested for HIV/AIDS.

According to Mr Gola Enga Province topped the Highlands Province with a 1.5 per cent HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.