15 Aug 2006

PNG health minister says media report about AIDS inaccurate

3:15 pm on 15 August 2006

The Papua New Guinea Health Minister says reports that AIDS drugs are sitting close to expiry in a Port Moresby warehouse because PNG's health system can't hand them out, are inaccurate.

Sir Peter Barter has disputed the report, aired in an ABC 4 Corners television documentary, saying anti-retroviral and other AIDS medicines were regularly distributed to the country's hospitals.

The documentary showed boxes of anti-retroviral medicines bought through the World health Organisation's Global Fund stored in a Port Moresby warehouse.

It claimed that PNG's health service lacked the capacity to distribute them.

Sir Peter says the distribution of medicines isn't the problem, rather, it was the capacity of hospitals to implement the program by having trained staff and facilities.

He says health care workers must be trained and certified to prescribe anti-retroviral medicines before anti-retroviral treatment for AIDS can start in the hospitals.

Hospitals also needed to be accredited for the treatment.