THE Health Department is yet to recruit a new oncologist for the country, says cancer programme manager George Otto.
He told The National that after oncologist Dr John Niblett passed away last year, the position was still vacant.
“We do not have nationally trained oncologists in the country so what the department is doing is trying to recruit overseas doctors,” Otto said.
He said currently there was no radiotherapy doctor in the country which meant patients needing that service would have to seek treatment overseas.
Cancer patients could only be treated with surgery and chemotherapy in the country, he said.
“Chemotherapy treatment for cancer can be received in any hospital in the country as long as there is a surgeon working there,” Otto said.
He said cancer surgery cases were usually dealt with in the two main hospitals, Port Moresby General Hospital and Angau in Lae.
He said they were in the process of recruiting an overseas oncologist, but still needed to fix some things at the Lae hospital to accommodate the new doctor.
“We have arranged for a replacement oncologist whom we have recruited but the department made a decision not to have the doctor yet because of some issues with the radiotherapy (cancer) facility in Lae and that the hospital is also undergoing redevelopment,” Otto said.
Otto said in terms of training national oncologists, they would need the assistance from the government to establish facilities to train cancer specialists or doctors.
“We are trying to find a way to try to set up some kind of training programme to have our medical students and doctors trained to become oncologists or cancer doctors as well.”
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