Papua New Guinea does not have a cancer policy for screening and treatment of all types of cancer, says Acting Director of Public Health Dr Lutty Amos.
While many women continue to die from breast and cervical cancer 39 years o, the country still does not have a cancer policy.
Amos, a gynecologist, says a taskforce team was set up in 2007 by then health minister Peter Barter to do a situational analysis, seven years on, and there is still no cancer policy on how to conduct effective awareness, screen and treat cancer.
“They are working on one and it’s still in its draft stages. We don’t even have a cancer registry in the country,” she says. “In terms of collecting statistics, we get them from the pathology when tests are done.”
Amos says she has been pushing for a cancer policy due to the high number of women in the country dying from preventable and curable cancer. “What we are doing now with identifying high risk cancer age groups is through population age screening.”
She says January is cervical cancer awareness month but the National Health Department does not have a budget for it.
Amos says what her team will be doing next is visit business houses in Port Moresby to raise awareness to staff during their lunch breaks.
“Our program will start on Tuesday at the PNG Power Office, City Pharmacy on Wednesday and Thursday at PNG Ports,” says Health Education Program Officer Rhonda Tisap.
Tisap says NCD has more than 800,000 women as per the statistics collected during the measles vaccination conducted last year. “Due to budget limitation, only business houses will be visited for awareness,” says Tasap.
The National Department of health Secretary could not be reached for comments regarding the policy.
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