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June 13, 2021
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The Cost of Cancer in Papua New Guinea

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By Martha Louise – EMTV News, Lae

A cancer patient who travelled from Mendi in Southern Highlands Province to Lae, Morobe Province to seek treatment at Angau Hospital says he had already spent more than K200 just to seek treatment in Lae and expects to spend more money over the coming days. Joel Pape, says it is a challenge to find the amount of money needed in order to get the treatment he needs.

Joel Pape, travelled from Mendi to Lae seeking cancer treatment. He sold a pig for K1000 and paid for his way here. Since arriving in Lae, much of his money has been spent on food and accommodation as he waits to be treated.

It is difficult for patients like him who have no relatives in Lae. Joel Pape is one of hundreds of patients from other centres who come to Lae expecting to get treated after being diagnosed with cancer. Many don’t understand the actual costs associated with the treatment and the extra they have to fork out because of delays.

Dr. Joseph Garap who works at Angau Hospital says average Papua New Guineans coming from rural areas, can’t afford the high costs, and when hospitals run out of cancer medicines, patients are sent to pharmacies which charge even more.

Twenty three year old, Dickson Mari, told EMTV News he had to purchase the drugs at the pharmacy after he was told there were none at the hospital.

A cancer survivor, Toke Paul, who travelled all the way from Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, for treatment in Lae says she was also forced to find money in order to afford the medicines.

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