Saturday, May 19, 2018

Port Moresby General Hospital runs out of drugs


Dr Glen Mola

Not always good news! 
Today we heard at our PMGH (Port Moresby General Hospital) staff meeting that we have run out of antiretroviral (ART or HIV drugs) medicines. 
We have many thousands of HIV positive people on treatment in NCD (and several more thousand around the rest of the country) and they may not have any medicine to take unless new supplies arrive in the very near future. 
People on ART must take their medicine every single day: they they stop and start again they are very likely to breed resistant HIV. 
This is not only bad (in fact life-threatening) for the patient, but life-threatening for everybody else in the community who might catch the HIV from them. 
We also don't have any syphilis test kits in the country.
Syphilis used to be the commonest cause of stillbirth (babies dying inside their mothers) in our audit stats.- and after we started routine testing of all mothers coming to AN clinics (and treating the positives) we virtually eliminated this scourge from our pregnant mums.
 But now with no test kits available, the syphilis problem will come back again and many babies will die.
And this week we ran out of Oxytocin, the drug that prevents women from losing too much blood when they deliver their babies.  The commonest cause of death when oxytocin is not available is post partum hemorrhage (or excessive bleeding after the birth); so we are probably now going to see a lot more mothers dies even when they come to hospital to have a supervised birth.
And we are very short of surgical sutures - the special thread and needle that surgeons use to sew up their patients during and after operations. 
Every day we don't have some essential item that is critical to save medical practice.
And the PNG government does not even pay for any of the family planning commodities - pills, depo, implants etc. - they are all donated to us by UNFPA and other overseas donor agencies.
 Eventually this will stop, because PNG has recently been upgraded to a "middle income country" because of our oil and gas extractive industries. 
And if the Government does not step up and buy the FP commodities that we need to assist people to plan their families.....??
Most doctors and nurses still try to keep positive about their work, but in the face of a government that does not support the health system - it is becoming more and more difficult.
And then we wee that there are millions of kina available for high profile stuff like various intensive care facilities at PMGH (coronary care, trauma, cardiac catheterization, renal dialysis etc.that will surely only benefit a minority of less than 1% of patients): but how come there is no money for the majority (99 per cent) of patients, - the sick kids, the women delivering their babies, the people every night needing emergency surgery, the HIV and TB patients, families needing contraceptive to plan their families etc?  "The answer my friend is blowing in the wind......" - Bob Dylan. 
Can we all start putting pressure on the government please to FUND THE HEALTH SERVICE PROPERLY - and not just through Borneo Pacific.

1 comment:

  1. was in charge of rabaul hospital when you came to work there Glenn :life is a long fight against stupid politicians on the planet but lets hope that the plans to democratize health care will win one day (been a gp in france since left png 1986 now going to work in hospital to try to link hospital with rural care....) Keep fighting
    Jacques Fauvel