by Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The National Health Department urgently needs K40 million to implement the Papua New Guinea National Tuberculosis Emergency Response Plan.
Deputy Secretary, Dr. Paison Dakulala, says the program cannot be fully implemented, because of the delay by the national government in releasing these funds.
In an exclusive interview with EMTV News this afternoon, Dr. Dakulala admitted little has been done to implement the TB Emergency Response Plan because of funding constraints.
The National Health Department is doing its best to help contain the epidemic.
“Key messages are emergency and urgent. Lets take on board seriously and do something about this.”
Of the K40 million, K17.7 million alone is for the Multi and Extensively Drug Resistant TB Program in Daru, Western Province.
The remaining K23 million is for two hotspots, NCD and Gulf, and other centres.
“K17.7 million comes from the Western Province community funds, from Ok Tedi. But unfortunately it’s a court issues, and does not allow us to access that and this has become a challenge for us.
“K23 million, we have been asking Treasury Department so that we put it in the Supplementary Budget,” he said.
Without these funds, Dr. Dakulala says it’s very difficult to implement the Emergency Response Plan.
The National Health Department is aware of PNG’s state of economy. However, when dealing with life, it’s an emergency that requires immediate attention.
“We need to carry out different activities in our plan,” he said.
These problems come in a time, when the TB program also expired in August and Dr. Dakulala has made a submission for an extension to allow more effort to address this epidemic.
“We have to implement the strategy early, when it’s still manageable,” Dakulala said.