by Colleen Barilae – EM TV, Lae
According to the World Health Organisation at least 62 per cent of deaths are caused by tuberculosis and other communicable diseases in Papua New Guinea.
Much of the blame has been attributed to the habit of buai chewing.
In Morobe, statistics gathered over the last eight months have shown an increase in the number of TB cases.
“One of the biggest things about TB that we try to do is to tell people not to spit,” said Dr Abrahams.
While much talk has been on TB awareness, Angau’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Jim Abrahams says the habit of buai chewing has serious implications on TB in the country.
“That’s a betelnut problem but it’s a bigger problem with that patient who also has tuberculosis, because they can spread tuberculosis by actually spitting,” Dr Abrahams said.
The national government, meanwhile, has invested several millions in plans towards the fight against TB in the country.
But health experts say that it may take several years to contain the problem, especially when buai chewing is a common practice in most of PNG’s societies.