29 Sep 2004

Plea for doctors' voice to be heard in PNG HIV fight

10:22 am on 29 September 2004

People involved in the treatment and prevention of HIV/Aids in one of the worst-hit parts of Papua New Guinea are calling for the authorities to engage with them further.

The pleas come as leaders of provincial Aids committees, NGOs, churches and national government meet for a leadership training programme in Port Moresby this week.

Doctor Lesley Kawa of Mount Hagen hospital, welcomes the discussions but he says people would also heed the words of doctors about the dangers of the disease.

Doctor Kawa says Mount Hagen hospital's medical ward gets up to five new cases each week:

"At Mount Hagen hospital, by August at this year, the statistics from the national Department of Health came out. They recorded about 9,000 plus, and of those the second highest number of HIV reported case in Western Highlands and that's from Mount Hagen general hospital. We get about 14 to 20 new HIV patients at our Outpatients, and we get about three to five new patients in the medical ward, per week."

Doctor Kawa says he appreciates the input on strategies from social workers and others directly involved in the management of patients.