Cancer in Papua New Guinea
The vision of developing a digital technology to diagnose cancer in Papua New Guinea and compensate for the country’s shortage of pathologists recently became a reality at the Kumul GameChangers competition. The Kumul GameChangers initiative is designed to introduce creative entrepreneurial solutions to development challenges in Papua New Guinea. The initiative was implemented by the U.N. Development Program in association with the Kumul Foundation and supported by the Australian government.

Applicants to Kumul GameChangers must submit innovative enterprise ideas that exhibit financial stability, sustainability and the potential to mutually benefit customers and the businesses themselves. Ideas are also expected to identify a social or environmental problem and address it.

ePathway for Papua New Guinea (ePathPG) is a digital image management system used to take microscopic images of tissues for cancer diagnosis. Medical professionals use digital microscopes and smartphones to capture the images. Preliminary tests have used tissues from the cervix, mouth, breast or endometrium to detect cancer.

ePathPG can be used to conduct endometrial and breast examinations as well as biopsies for cervical cancer. In addition to this, it can help detect mouth cancer and identify potential complications in high-risk pregnancies. ePathPG can also be used to diagnose blood disorders like leukemia, malaria, anaemia, lymphoma and filariasis.

Despite facing a lack of funding and sponsorship for his research, ePathPG co-developer Dr. Rodney Itaki believes the invention has the potential for tremendous success.

“It will have a great, positive, impact on cancer diagnosis in PNG,” Itaki said. “Patients will get their results faster, allowing earlier and faster interventions and leading to better outcomes for cancer sufferers in PNG.”

Shanique Wright

Photo: Flickr