12 Jun 2017

Crippled by drug shortage, PNG doctors threaten to strike

6:21 am on 12 June 2017

A drug and funding shortage in Papua New Guinea is so severe that eight hospitals have been forced to close, and a vast majority could follow suit by the end of the month.

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Photo: Supplied

The country's doctors would on Tuesday submit a 30 day notice to the government, threatening to walk off the job indefinitely if the situation was not resolved.

The general secretary of the National Doctors Association, Sam Yockopua, said the crisis stems from tender issues and the government's free healthcare programme.

He said hospitals can no longer charge for supplies, but the government had not paid the money to cover the costs which means they're running out of even the most basic items.

"We've been trying to address all these issues and at the trend at which we are going, by the end of this month 90 percent of the hospitals will shut down," he said.

"We don't have money, if we had money all of these things are easy. So we will give them 30 days. Failure to do so, all of these doctors will go on strike. That's going to happen indefinitely until these things are done."

Sam Yockopua said if doctors strike they would continue to provide emergency care, but all non-urgent services will be cancelled.