CANCER detection, prevention and cure is a very expensive undertaking that taxes most budgets.
With lack of facilities in-country, many patients seek treatment overseas in Australia, Singapore and the Philippines.
Another source for early detection, diagnosis and treatment has just opened up with the Chang Hua Christian Hospital in Taiwan.
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Papua New Guinea has confirmed that the hospital is available to offer medical referral services for cancer and other medical conditions requiring specialist health care that are not available in the country.
Representative Ben Wang said PNG faced significant challenges in its healthcare system and delivery, particularly in addressing the high mortality rates associated with breast, cervical, and oral cancers among others.
“Given the shortcomings in PNG’s healthcare infrastructure, it is imperative to explore options for referral medical services abroad,” Wang said.
While developing its own capacity to fully establish high level specialist health care, the Port Moresby General Hospital as a national, tertiary and specialist referral hospital, could look to Taiwan for assistance in the interim, Wang said.
Towards that end the Chang Hua Christian Hospital has already established a cooperation mechanism with the Port Moresby General Hospital.
A round trip airfare from Port Moresby to Taipei is about US$700 (about K2,592), making it cheaper to travel there then to some locations in PNG.
Representative Wang said the charges for quality cancer and medical treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and medication are comparatively reasonable compared with neighbouring nations.
Patients would first undergo medical evaluation at PMGH before any referral is done.
All provincial health authorities are encouraged to utilise this avenue for their patients who may be able to afford such referrals.
Wang said after a panel of clinical specialists at PMGH perform respective medical evaluation, they can make recommendations for appropriate referral to Chang Hua.
Cancer is advancing as one of PNG’s number one killers, surpassing many traditional life threatening diseases.
Doctors have recently come out strongly to suggest that cancer is curable if detected in its early stages but is today one of those conditions that is left until it is too late (at stages 3 or 4) when the disease is too advanced to treat.
Doctors are also alarmed at the people’s blind trust in faith healing and herbal medicines.
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