Port Moresby General Hospital gets painted in colour

Saturday, 14th June has seen the Port Moresby General Hospital being painted multicolours to support the many kids attending the hospital.

With paint brushes in hand and more than 50 ExxonMobil employees and their family members at the hospital adding colour to the playground equipment on the day, it really brought some-much needed love and excitement to the playground.

ExxonMobil donated the time, the resources and all the funds to purchase all the items to improve and cheer up the playground.

It was even more impressive to see one of the most highly profiled MD’s in the country there on the day, Managing Director ExxonMobil Mr. Peter Graham. There was no watching from the sidelines, as Mr. Graham was one of the first onsite, paintbrush in hand and getting right into all the work.

The children watched from the ward as the work was taking place to improve there much loved swings, slides and other play equipment at the Hospital.

It is great to see large corporates such as this supporting the hospital and really giving back to the communities of PNG.

The CEO Mr. Muddle commented, “It is a great initiative of Exxonmobil and I am very grateful to them for this work and very impressed to see the Managing Director Peter Graham there on the tools also…great work Peter and thank you to you and your team for all there efforts today.”

We will add a list of all the people on the day that contributed on the day and a special thank you from PMGH…

TODAY SATURDAY JUNE 14TH IS WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY

Today is world blood donor day. The focus of this year’s World Blood Donor Day campaign is “Safe blood for saving mothers”. Every day, about 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. Severe bleeding during delivery and after childbirth is a major cause of mortality, morbidity and long-term disability. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness about why timely access to safe blood and blood products is essential for all countries as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent maternal deaths.

How can you help?

Make a life saving blood donation. Blood donors play an integral role in the delivery of modern healthcare, especially in Papua New Guinea. Many lifesaving medical treatments and procedures involve blood transfusions and would not be possible without a safe and reliable blood supply. If you already donate blood, thank you! You are making a lifesaving contribution that benefits accident victims, cancer patients, surgical candidates, children with blood disorders and many others situations all across Papua New Guinea. If you have never donated blood, please consider doing so and come down to Port Moresby General Hospital. Your donations are always in constant demand and your blood, will help many PNG people everyday, and you are contributing to saving peoples lives in PNG by doing this very simple act.

Please let us know if you have any questions and leave a comment either on this post or send us a private message and we will do our best to answer them for you. If you wish to donate blood please call this number for more information. PMGH – General Enquires (675) 324-8200

Cancer survivor hails Chinese team

Mrs Mosusu said she was saved by the hardworking Port Moresby General Hospital staff, specifically one of China’s top gynaecologists Dr Zhou Qin.

Dr Qin is a specialist Associate Professor at the department of obstetrics and gynecology, the first affiliated hospital of Chongqing Medical University, in China.

She is here leading 10 top specialist doctors from China to assist at the hospital and with the University of Papua New Guinea Medical School’s training program.

“I urge all woman to go for a pap smear test because through this, the cervical cancer that I was suffering from was detected,” Mrs Mosusu said. “I came to the hospital and these Chinese doctors saved me.

“I encourage all women to go for regular tests so that they can survive like me.

“I would like to thank Port Moresby General Hospital and most importantly the Chinese doctors who spent time with me when I was going through chemotherapy giving me hope to survive.”

Papua New Guinea has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world with an estimated age-standardised incidence of 23.7/100,000 compared to 5.0/100,000 in Australia and New Zealand.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in PNG and a leading cause of premature death. An estimated 1500 women die every year in PNG due to cervical cancer.

Hospital Beds

Buai blamed for cancer

The main cause of mouth cancer in Papua New Guinea is betelnut chewing, says technical officer in Oral Health Services Dr Rose Andrew. “In PNG, the major cause is defined to the localised practice that we do with betel nut chewing,” Andrew said. “Betel nut chewing is a local and acceptable practice in our society but people don’t know the risks involved.

“The widespread betel nut chewing has caused a rise in mouth cancer cases in the country.
“In other developing countries, the cause of mouth cancer is tobacco smoking, alcohol, excessive consumption of alcohol, exposure to sunlight or radiation, chemicals and other genetic factors.”
Andrew said between 2010 and 2012, there were 142 cases of mouth cancer, 98% of those cases were of people who were long-time betelnut chewers, most of whom were at the late stage.”
Andrew said records 20 years back had shown that two mouth cancer patients were seen at the dental clinic in the country and in the hospitals.
In the last five years, the cases of mouth cancer were two to five patients a month, but it has decreased to two mouth cancer patients every week, Andrew said.
“We really need to address this and educate our people in our homes and communities.”
Andrew said that cancer was “silently killing Papua New Guineans”.

Public smokers face ban

Smoking in public places and the sale of loose cigarettes will be banned if Parliament approves an updated Tobacco Act later this year. They are among measures proposed for the health benefit of the country, an official says.
Health Secretary Pasco Kase said the most effective measure that could be taken against tobacco in terms of cost and public health benefit was to increase taxes on tobacco.
Kase said the Health Department and other departments had updated the 1987 Tobacco Act, and it was intended that this new bill would be presented to Parliament later this year for approval.
“Other important points in this bill are banning of the sale of single or loose cigarettes, increasing joint efforts to reduce the amount of tobacco products that make their way illegally into PNG, banning of smoking in public places and a requirement to label packets with graphic health warnings,” he said.
He said PNG was once a leader in tobacco control with the introduction of the Tobacco Product (Health Control) Act of 1987 and the adoption of a National Tobacco Policy in 2004.
However, implementation has been challenging and more can be achieved to ensure that PNG meets its requirements under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the core element of WHO.
“This new legislation will be a milestone for PNG’s health. We urge the nation’s leaders to commit to the implementation of the government responsibilities under the FCTC and to ensure that Papua New Guineans are given the right to healthy lives free from interference from destructive tobacco companies.
“The tobacco industry has for many years knowingly put millions of lives at risk through the continued production of a product that kills 50% of its users.”
Following the introduction of strict tobacco control laws in developed countries, the industry has turned towards low-and middle countries,” he said.

PNG a nation of smokers

A landmark report launched by World Heath Organisation and the Department of Health last Friday places PNG in the top 10 countries for highest smoking prevalence in the world.

The non-communicable disease risk factor STEPS report, launched at Bavaroko Primary School in the nation’s capital, commemorated the World No Tobacco Day.

The report revealed that 60 percent of adult men and 27 percent of women in PNG are current smokers.

What is even alarming is that the smoking prevalence amongst both male and female adolescence ages 13-15 is in the top five in the world.

“It is clear that PNG faces a major epidemic that requires urgent and swift action.” WHO PNG country representative Dr Pieter Van Maaren said at the launch.

He said it is not just set of numbers but a loss of mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers and a lifelong treatment for chronic illnesses.

“It is a trial that families must bear as breadwinners are unable to work.

It is a cost of the nation as a whole as it tries to meet the heavy burden that the tobacco industry places on the economy,” he said.

He said the most effective measure we can use to decrease tobacco consumption is to increase taxes on tobacco products.

A higher retail cost of cigarettes deters the young and the poor from smoking. It also encourages the choice to quit for current smokers.

A tax increase that increases tobacco price by 10 per cent has shown to decrease tobacco consumption by up to eight percent in most low- and middle-income countries.

In addition to this, higher taxes increase government revenue, which can then be used to offset the millions of kina that the tobacco industry costs PNG each year.

These costs are not only incurred by the health sector, but the loss of productivity as a result of tobacco related illnesses and deaths are an enormous cost to the economy of PNG.

PNG is signatory to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (the FCTC), the world’s first global public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO.

As part of its responsibilities under Article six of the FCTC, PNG is obliged to place taxes and price controls on tobacco products.

Tobacco products are currently taxed in PNG, but not at a high enough rate to meet the global recommendation of a minimum of 70 per cent of the retail value – the percentage that has been found to be most effective in preventing tobacco use.

In addition to this, current rates of taxation are not increased at a rate high enough to meet inflation.

Mr Van Maaren said the government can consider ear marking a portion of funds collected from tobacco taxation to fund tobacco control programs, ensuring that the tobacco industry itself funds measures taken to reduce the damage that it causes.

For example, with these funds the government can promote a healthier lifestyle for the people of PNG.

POM General Hospital & Cricket PNG

The health of children and adults in PNG will today be getting a boost from Cricket PNG and its national teams, the Hebou PNG Barramundi’s & the Pacific MMI PNG Lewas.

Port Moresby General Hospital CEO Mr. Grant Muddle and Cricket PNG General Manager Mr. Greg Campbell today announced an excellent new initiative to support and improve immunisation for everyone in Papua New Guinea. Immunisation is an important part of any health programs across the globe. In the case of PNG, there have been advancements is this area, however based on statistics many of the very basic immunisation’s are only covering 60% of the population. These vital immunisations will protect the children of PNG, from many diseases that have nearly been eradicated from many other countries around the world.

Cricket PNG GM Mr. Greg Campbell has played a major role in developing cricket within PNG and starting many of the potentially bright futures for aspiring PNG Cricket players. Mr. Campbell came to PNG with an impressive career in cricket that saw him reach the pinnacle of the game with him representing Australia in 4 test matches, including the ashes series and 12 One-day internationals. Mr. Campbell came to PNG in 2011 to take up the top job at Cricket PNG and has a great impact on the development of cricket in PNG.

In another step towards further assisting PNG; Mr. Campbell was pleased to team up with PMGH CEO Mr. Muddle. He commented “Since being in PNG for the past 3 years, it has been a great pleasure to work with many people throughout PNG and see the development of a game I love very much. Today is another day that I am very pleased to be part of in working with PMGH and the CEO Mr. Grant Muddle. Being able to now leverage this great sport of cricket even further and to give back to PNG in such a great cause and need is tremendous. Grant and I both have a huge passion for the game of cricket, and when we first spoke about ways to develop a program for the people of PNG, I was pleased to be part of this the initial thinking process. The idea of targeting the grass root needs of PNG, and looking at health as the focus of this. It just seemed logical to focus on a real need in PNG and immunization was a countrywide need. Cricket PNG reaches all areas of the country and immunisation is a countrywide issue. I am pleased to be part of this new program and we will roll out the details of this program in the coming weeks”.

The CEO of PMGH, Mr. Grant Muddle added, “While I might not be able to bowl a ball as well as Greg, I am a real supporter of cricket globally and especially here in PNG. I saw an opportunity to connect with a growing sport in PNG and look at how we can promote the need to improve immunisation rates throughout PNG. As the CEO of PNG’s largest and busiest hospital, I see and hear on a daily basis the many cases on diseases that could have been easily avoided if immunisation was been managed correctly throughout the country. In this new partnership with Cricket PNG, we plan on using this new partnership to increase immunisation rates and raise additional funds for immunisation through various programs that will target the corporates and businesses throughout PNG. The Government is doing a great job in providing many of the needed funds, however this new partnership will allow us to further expand our programs and help fast track and improve basic health needs in PNG. As the CEO of the major PNG hospital, it is my intention, by numerous means to source the additional funds required to improve the health for all PNG as quickly as we can.”

The new immunisation program will start in the coming months, with more announcements to follow and the details of the programs to be launched officially.

The CEO PMGH concluded by saying, “I look forward to hopefully seeing a major fund raising event for this program that will potentially see many of the great past internationals players visit PNG for a game of cricket. I am also looking forward to hopefully bowling a few quick balls at Greg on the day. I am pleased again to announce this new partnership and will keep all of PNG up-to-date as this further evolves. Thank you to Cricket PNG, to the GM Mr. Greg Campbell for making this possible.”

The partnership will also see the current Hebou Barramundi’s and Pacific MMI Lewas players being advocates in raising awareness of the importance of being immunised.

Details will follow over the coming weeks.

PMGH still has vacancies

Port Moresby General Hospital has been commended for its proactive approach in dealing with its issues.

And that includes recruiting staff both from within the country and overseas in response to a growing demand for services at the hospital which services not only the residents of Port Moresby but also the referrals coming from provincial hospitals.

Health Secretary Pascoe Kase highlighted PMGH’s efforts when responding to critics of the Government’s Free Health Care policy, including its impact on services at PMGH.

He said the issues faced at PMGH maternity wing are manageable as the issues are embedded in the strategic directives that have been issued which the hospital management and board have taken into account and are trying to address.

He said a lot of the issues faced at the hospital have been there for many years, and commended the hospital management for being proactive in dealing with these issues as well as coming up with new developments in order to deliver the free health care policy to the mothers and children.

“Already the Port Moresby General Hospital is recruiting nurses locally and overseas; and had recruited Filipino nurses of which 34 are now working in the hospital with 24 post graduate nurses recruited locally. We encourage other hospitals and provinces to do likewise to address the workforce shortages while we train more workers,’’ he said.

He said PMGH still has vacancies for 200 nursing and community health workers. He said interested qualified people are to enquire at the HR division of the hospital.

Hospital Beds

Govt plans to address impact of free health policy

The Government has planned specific strategies to address the impact of free primary health care and subsidised specialised services policy, says Health Secretary Pascoe Kase.

He said these strategies were being implemented, but were slow in some areas.

“The National Department of Health has anticipated the pressures the Free Health Care Policy would bring on to the existing health care systems and therefore, have put in place specific strategic mitigating measures to address any perceived consequences,’’ he said.

He said the mitigating measures come in the form of policies developed by the department and approved by the Government with funding allocations to implement a number of interventions.

These include a total of K20 million distributed for implementation of the Free Health Care Policy.

Last year, K20m was allocated which will be distributed to all health facilities soon to replace the user fees that are paid by patients. He said there have been delays in the release of these funds in some provinces treasuries, but follow ups are being made to ensure funds are released on time.

Furthermore, he said the strategic interventions the Health Department had come up with to implement the policy are in the areas of staff recruitment, training, health facilities rehabilitations and upgrading, health systems management and governance, and involvement of partners to strengthen our delivery system.

“The momentum is picking up pace in getting our health system right for the next 20 years. Systems improvement is not going to be fixed overnight,” said Kase.

Fees and Charges at PMGH – “They are NOT increasing or changing”

In the preceding weeks, through various sources including patients, staff and the PNG media, questions have been raised, into the potential increasing costs of fees and charges for patients attending Port Moresby General Hospital.

The CEO Mr. Grant Muddle wanted to address these issues and questions to ensure the people of Port Moresby and PNG have the facts available to make informed opinions and decisions.

The CEO Mr. Grant Muddle commented, “I released a statement recently with regard to rumors around the privatisation of PMGH, in which I clearly stated these were false and that PMGH will not be privatised. In keeping with my plans to have all of the media and the people of Port Moresby informed with what is happening at PMGH I would like to address another question and squash a false rumor that is circulating about PMGH with regard to the fees and charges for patients. Firstly, there are no fee increases for PMGH, and nor has there been any discussions taking place about changes in our fees. Our fees and charges for patients are directly inline with National Department of Health Policies and inline with the published Free and Subsidised Healthcare Policy of the GoPNG. PMGH is a vital infrastructure resource in the healthcare system of PNG, and is here to continually provide on-going services for all of Port Moresby and PNG. Running a hospital is not inexpensive, and the fees collected by the hospital, based on the rates as set by the NDoH and signed and approved by the NEC and the Governor General, go no where near covering PMGH operating costs, hence the Government has to heavily subsidise PMGH, and I suspect other health facilities in PNG. It’s this on-going investment by the GoPNG that is allowing us to continually improve our healthcare services, our facilities / infrastructure, the number of competent staff at the hospital, the purchase of new and highly advance equipment, plus fund the on-going need to further expand the hospital to service the ever increasing and deserving population of PNG.”
The CEO Mr. Grant Muddle was also delighted yesterday to welcome the addition of 31 new nurses from the Philippines. “These Philippine nurses will help us bridge the gap that we are currently experiencing due to the lack of trained PNG Nurses. We had 31 new staff arrive yesterday, with another 19 to arrive in the coming weeks. These new staff will greatly improve our patient care and help support our hard working staff that are working around the clock to make sure the hospital operates and that our patients are getting the best care possible. We have plans to start an additional training program to address this staff shortage of trained nurses here in PNG and I will be very pleased to provide further details on this once we have the final plans completed and approved by the PMGH BoM, NDoH, Nursing Council and Education Department.”