Health Uncategorized

Opinion: Pascoe Kase’s admission of health system failure, 10 years overdue

It took a change of government before  health workers truly felt free to openly discuss the medicine shortages.

Pascoe Kase (Post Courier)

For the last five years, I have been repeating the same story: ‘We have a crisis in the health system.”

The rest of the country can see it.  The people  who are victims of the medicine shortages all over the country keep speaking out  about it.  Health workers have cried while being interviewed because they simply can’t save lives.

And we’re not talking about the expensive cancer treatment and operations families have to pay for.  It’s the basics that are lacking.  Antibiotics, malaria drugs, family planning drugs and consumables.  The clinics don’t have them. Or even if they have them, the supplies are not enough for their catchment areas.

Personally, I have emailed the Health Secretary, Pascoe Kase, on the  cancer unit in Lae, the ill-treatment of the late Dr. John Niblet and the medicine shortages. I have called and sent text messages.

No reply.

I found that the only way  get the  (former) government’s attention was to produce a series of live videos on Facebook berating the Health Minister and the ‘higher ups’ until the issue got discussed on the floor of Parliament.

It took a change of government before  health workers truly felt free to openly discuss the medicine shortages.  When the new PM, James Marape, travelled to Lae on his second visit, he came with the  Health Minister, Elias Kapavore, and  Secretary Kase.

We put the question of medicine shortages to him yet again. The Health Secretary was indeed quick to defend saying the medicine shortage was a “broad” assumption and that the problem was with the area medical stores. He went on further to state that a lot of the blame lay with staff at the clinics.

I said: “You have to go to the clinics and talk to staff because the information you are giving me here is wrong.”  (I have the video).  It turned into a tense exchange which we later had to cut short.

After more than five years, Secretary Kase is now “admitting” that there are problems.  I could say ‘better late than never.’  But…No.  We wanted that admission earlier. We wanted an acknowledgment of the problem and it is almost 10 years overdue.

Senior doctors Like Sam Yokopua, Ludwig Nanawar and Alex Peawi have all threatened to resign over the unresolved problems that continue to hurt their patients.  Dr. Sam Yokopua, has become something of a fundraiser, going out of his way to ask the public for support for medicines and consumables because, the system is not supporting him.

Things need to change. Those in power need to realize that the people pay their salaries and the people want answers.




7 comments on “Opinion: Pascoe Kase’s admission of health system failure, 10 years overdue

  1. This is an excellent, factual story that makes you think. As a resident of Lae for 6 tears, I say that you would have to have been deaf, dumb and blind not so see that the health system had collapsed about 10 years ago.

    Only the likes of Puka Temu had the gall to keep repeating that the cancer unit issues “were being dealt with”, that there was no problem with medical supplies, and that the polio epidemic did not pose a threat. It is time his tenure at the health department be made subject of an official investigation.

    The treatment of John Nesbitt by the health department helped him into an early grave, after decades of service to PNG. Foreign scoundrels and con men who come to PNG to enrich themselves are held in high regard, while those who come genuinely to serve, work on a local salary, train up their colleagues and work shoulder to shoulder with local staff, are subject of whisper campaigns, harassment by authorities, and are made to leave the country penniless or in a coffin.

    So we wasted 10 years denying there is a problem, let’s not waste the next 10 years waiting for the people who failed to effectively deal with it reach the age of retirement. It is evident that the secretary and deputy secretaries of the health department need to be replaced by younger, committed health professionals, who at least make an effort to deal with the many issues at hand. There are many around, they just have been pushed into the shadows by the corrupt incumbents.


    • Can I please use this?


      • Of course. You saw probably there is a parallel with UNITECHs story of 10 years refusing to reform council, then pushing out the change agents, and putting in place the puppets who will sit glued to their chairs until they die or are forced to retire.


  2. Charity Mercy Grace Kiap

    Thank you Mr. Waide..

    It’s really taking its toll. Here at Emergency PomGen plus the rest of the Hospital we don’t have the necessary consumables and medications to use. We health workers are prone to infection such as MDR TB whilst introducing cross infection to patients. Moreover, with the antibiotics we are introducing more drug resistance to the patients. More better we don’t hide the truth to the public and rather shut the hospital doors so the public can believe as they see to believe thus they can go to private hospital and pay for the services… Its really a pity for those that can’t afford to pay for the necessary medical expenses. #The truth be told#

    Liked by 1 person

  3. was the secretary living in oblivion and class house in Waigani all these years. so he woke up from a slumber…if he was sick he could rush himself to Manila…


  4. Norengo Simoe

    Need to replace these old crooks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: