1 Jun 2010

PNG's Health Department says people may be dying due to lack of testing equipment

7:39 am on 1 June 2010

The Health Department in PNG says it accepts people may be dying because of a lack of diagnostic equipment.

The head of Pathology at the Angau Memorial Hospital in the city of Lae, Dr Francis Bannick says patients are waiting months for test results from Port Moresby because of a lack of equipment at the hospital.

He says the hospital is supposed to provide testing services for about three quarters of the population, and the problem is affecting about 4,000 to 5,000 tests a year for conditions such as cancer, cholera, tuberculosis and HIV.

But the deputy health secretary, Dr Paison Dakulala says as part of a 170 million US dollar plan to rebuild the hospital, the histopathology equipment should be bought within a year.

He says such problems are not unique to Lae

"Angau Hospital would be like any other hospital that goes through the diagnosis of tissues. Diagnosis yes that's important but because of the situation our country is in this is not always available like we would want it to be. People could be dying, yes that could be true."

Dr Dakulala says the hospital does have the facility to run other tests that could assist diagnosis.