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Port Moresby
November 27, 2021

Health Inquiries: Trialed Cancer Program Failed

By Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Port Moresby

The free Gardasil Cancer Vaccination Program, trialed in West New Britain Province has been described as failed by the Special Parliamentary Committee Hearing into Health Management of Papua New Guinea.

The program was a pilot project by the World Health Organisation in partnership with the National Health Department that targeted schoolgirls, between the ages of nine to 13.

The hearing was told that a third round of treatment was never administered because of limited supply of the vaccines. The shortage was recorded in 2013.

According to Dr. Yvonne Sapuri from Kimbe General Hospital, most girls missed out on both the second and third round of treatments.

Statistics showed that in the first treatment, 12,256 girls were vaccinated while in the second treatment, 14,872.

That left only 719 vaccines after the second treatment.

A supplementary program was carried out that covered 21 schools, mainly in the Talasea District.

Dr. Sapuri told the inquiry there are higher risks for the female population being diagnosed with cervical cancer, if this pilot project has failed because it will minimise and prevent costs.

Special Parliamentary Committee member and Northern Province Governor, Gary Juffa, was not pleased how this program was administered, a program that showed a lack of technical coordination and public health awareness.

The hearing will continue tomorrow, with the panel from the National Health Department, led by Secretary, Pascoe Kase.


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