No Proper Cancer Statistics in PNG


By Merilyn Diau-Katam – EM TV News, Port Moresby

Statistics of cancer cases treated here in Papua New Guinea are inaccurate because institutions fail to keep an accurate record of the actual data.

Port Moresby General Hospital Oncologist, Dr. Arnold Waine, says inaccurate statistics have resulted in a lack of quality treatment. 

He says this is a problem the National Health Department should seriously consider as part of their cancer treatment plans.

Dr. Waine says there is no proper data for cancer statistics and epidemics in Papua New Guinea, because the country does not have a central data system.

“I can only give Port Moresby General Hospital’s statistics. At the moment right now, we do not have a proper central data system, so I do not know how many people there are in different centres, how many have been diagnosed, are receiving treatment, and have lost the battle with cancer.

“They (provincial centres) are doing their own thing, while we in Port Moresby are doing our own thing,” he said.

As a result of each health centre having different statistics, procuring medicine for treatment is also a concern.

Dr. Waine says there needs to be proper coordination and a constant supply of knowing when and where to deliver medicine. He also believes the National Department of Health have not looked into cancer over the years, because there is no national health plan for the disease.

“They said it’s a non-communicable disease. They part cancer into the business of hypertension, diabetes mellit’s, high cholesterol and other non-communicable diseases.

“Cancer per say, does not have a separate entity, so cancer has never been looked into”, said Dr. Waine.

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