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MOA joint cooperation sees policy achievement for cancer services in PNG.
Parties to the tri-partite agreement representatives from the National Department of Health, Kumul Petroleum and the Morobe Provincial Health Authority conduct a walkthrough of the ANGAU Memorial Hospital Cancer Services facility with Ms. Becky Pais – Senior Radiation Therapist on 03 September 2021.

MOA joint cooperation sees policy achievement for cancer services in PNG.

Cancer is a global challenge. Every year millions of people are affected by the disease. In Papua New Guinea, it is estimated by the National Department of Health that more than 7,000 new cases of cancer is presented to health facilities every year. Data shows that more than 5,000 of these cases presented die from cancer every year due to a lack of diagnosis and treatment facilities.

This may soon be a thing of the past, as Cancer Services in the country today celebrates a major policy achievement with the approval and gazettal of the much awaited Radiation Safety & Control Regulation that will see Papua New Guineans receive cancer treatment from as early as 2022.The Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited (Kumul Petroleum) funded joint partite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to support the upgrade of Cancer Services at ANGAU Memorial Hospital has been a proponent to achieving this success through significant funding support under the agreement to facilitate discussions and drive the policy to its final approval.

“The National Department of Health is pleased to announce that the much awaited regulation has now been approved and gazetted by the Government National Gazette (No.G533) for Radiation Safety & Control Regulation 2021. We are pleased that this policy achievement is an indication that the government strongly supports our work in strengthening of the health sector. The economic sector will greatly benefit from this law and regulation as well,” said Dr Goa, Executive Manager Medical Standards to National Department of Health & PNG National Liaison Officer to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

This is a big step forward for the Department of Health in terms of supporting our work in cancer treatment and radiology through the provision of a strong regulatory environment for the control of radiation sources. This also enhance our partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who will be assisting us to bring a new cobalt 60 radioactive source for the cancer centre.

The ANGAU Memorial Hospital Cancer treatment centre is our top priority and together with our partners we are working very hard to get it up and running to provide cancer services by early 2022.The National Department of Health would like to acknowledge and thank our corporate partner in Kumul Petroleum for the timely funding support provided to the health sector towards supporting funding under the MOA to facilitate and drive the efforts by the Department of Health and other government agencies to finalise the legal work for submission toward approval and gazettal, as well as their support toward the rebuilding of the cancer facility at ANGAU Memorial Hospital.

The Department also acknowledges the contribution of all the government agencies towards this work on establishing the radiation safety regulations and we are proud of this policy achievement.‘Our goal is to maximise our country’s petroleum assets for the benefit of all Papua New Guineans – our support to the health sector is a testament to this vision’ Executive General Manager – Corporate Services at Kumul Petroleum, Luke Liria said: “Kumul Petroleum’s commitment of K15 million over a 3 year period is no small feat. And is a testament of what public-private partnership by a national company can achieve.

We are extremely pleased as Papua New Guinea’s national oil and gas company (NOC) that we are able to support the upgrade of ANGAU Cancer Services and the fulfilment of this policy achievement so that cancer can be detected at the early stages, and the lives of more Papua New Guineans can be saved”.

Cancer is curable when it is detected at the early stages. The chances of curing cancer is increased by 90% if the cancer is detected early and appropriate treatment instituted. Our people must be educated of the importance of a medical check- up if they experience signs and symptoms. Raising awareness about cancer and its risk factors to prevent it is a cost – effective way to reduce the incidence of cancer, Dr Goa Tau stated.

Dr Kipas Binga, CEO of the Morobe Provincial Health Authority and CEO of ANGAU Memorial Hospital described the occasion as momentous for ANGAU Memorial Hospital and for all Papua New Guineans who seek cancer treatment at ANGAU Cancer Services. Dr Bingas said: “As one of two, of Papua New Guinea’s largest referral hospital for Cancer Services, we are pleased to see that in addressing one of the biggest public health problem in PNG, the government through the National Department of Health and organisations like Kumul Petroleum are working in partnership with the Morobe Health Authority to ensure that cancer must be is approached in a holistic manner, and that we will be able to provide this much needed service to all Papua New Guineans in the coming year.”

The announcement of the policy achievement was made within the margins of the joint steering committee meeting of the parties to the MOA held today, 03 September 2021 to discuss currentdevelopment and forward plan for ANGAU Cancer Services support under the project.

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