Delay in supply of TB drugs a concern for WHP patients

PORT MORESBY, 24 OCTOBER 2018 (POST COURIER) – Tuberculosis (TB) patients in Papua New Guinea are fearful of their lives.

In the Western Highlands Province TB sufferers are now living on the edge due to the delay in the arrival of drugs that were expected two weeks ago.

This was the scenario that TB patients were faced with when they fronted up on Monday morning to get their usual dosage.

They crowded the TB outpatient ward only to hear from Mount Hagen health authorities that there is a drug shortage and were advised to wait.

For many, having to wait and extra day of two for the drugs to arrive from the Department of Health can be dertimental towards their livelihood.

This is because if they miss a daily doze for a week it can lead to the development of Multi Drug Resistance TB, which is difficult to treat, and the drug is expensive to buy.

TB patient Michael Aris, 28, from Tambul Nebilyer district who came last week and again on Monday morning to receive his supplies, said it was frustrating to find out that supplies have not yet arrived.

“This will lead to the loss of many lives in the province because we’ve seen and heard that the government has brought new vehicles worth millions for the upcoming APEC world leaders summit in November, and what about us, the patients who are in dire need of TB drug supplies?” said Aris.

Philipus Jimi, 43, asked if saving the life of a person is important than investing on material things that won’t last.

“My life is just as important and if the medications are not provided and if we die, who is to be responsible, is it the government or the health authorities?” said Jimi.

He said leaders and members are mandated by the people, and yet people are being neglected.

A Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority official said the Department of Health has not responded to their concerns by answering their calls. WHP has a record of 10 MDR TB patients, however, two have already died.

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