Papua New Guinea HEALTH and HIV/AIDS Minister Dr Lino Tom says the standard of medicine supply and other medical consumables has dropped and on a downward spiral.
“We can’t give our people cheap medicines,” Tom said.
“If we are to find cheap medicines so that it’s affordable for everyone, quality must be maintained.
“We are now seeing a lot of drug resistance arising in parts of the country.
“If we lower the standards and quality of healthcare in the next few years, we won’t have any standards anymore.”
Growing up at home where his father was a health worker and having worked as a medical doctor, Tom said the quality of medical supplies used in the past was higher than that of today.
He said while as a medical student in 1999, during clinical practice in the hospitals, he started seeing alcohol swabs that were dry.
He said as a surgeon working in one of the provinces, there were issues with sedatives for operations that were supposed to last for more than two hours, for the duration of the surgery, but on a few occasions, patients started waking up in the middle of the operation.
“These are some issues that we are facing with the quality of drugs we administer to our people,” Tom said.
“Coming from that background, the importance of providing good quality medication for our people cannot be understated.”
Tom was speaking at the seventh biennial pharmaceutical conference in Port Moresby on Wednesday.
He stressed that the important role organisations such as the Pharmaceutical Society of PNG had was to address the ongoing issues of medical procurement and supply in Papua New Guinea. Tom said the procurement and supply of quality drugs and medical consumables were pertinent issues in the health sector that needed a coordinated approach to solve.
He said one of the common questions in parliament was about these issue.
Tom urged pharmacists who were experts in the field to provide effective recommendations that could lead to lasting solutions.
The National / PNG Health Watch
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