Edwin Fidelis – EMTV News, Kokopo
One of East New Britain Province’s main referral hospital is running out of basic essentials, doctors have warned amid the depending nationwide medical shortage issue.
The management of the Catholic-run, St. Mary’s Vunapope Hospital said the hospital had to order drugs from local pharmacies to treat patients.
Director of Medical Services at the hospital, Dr. Felix Diaku, has highlighted that supplies coming from the area medical store have been inconsistent.
“We are facing drug shortage and supplies. Our main area that we have been having shortage every month is medical oxygen,” said Dr. Diaku.
At the hospital’s outpatient, patients waiting for their turn to be served; but not everyone who is waiting will go back home with all the medical treatment they need.
Some of them will go back with prescription notes to buy medicine at the local pharmacies.
The reason has been one of national outrage.
“The hospital orders from the local pharmacies. Then patients have to pay some money so we can continue buying medicine”, Dr. Diaku said.
Since 2012, the PNG Government had embarked on a national free health care policy roll-out where health services are meant to be free to all Papua New Guineans.
But that has not been the case in most parts of the country.
“Although the Government says it gives 100 percent medical kit to health facilities, but the content is made up mainly of intravenous fluids and others. Antibiotics and other essential consumables aren’t delivered with them,” Moses Bogandri, a senior member of the hospital management said.
In East New Britain Province, the much-talked-about free health care service for all means nothing.
The St. Mary’s Vunapope Hospital is one of the health facilities in East New Britain Province that has spoken out about the severe drug shortages it is experiencing, and there are other health facilities in the province facing similar problems, but who have chosen not to say anything.