by Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea has been listed as one of the top 30 High TB Burden Countries (HBCs). Fighting the TB pandemic in the country is definitely a work-in-progress, and there is more to be done to eradicate the contagious disease.
It is very important that Papua New Guineans are well equipped with basic knowledge, and updated statistics about tuberculosis as a way to reduce the number of TB cases.
Recently in the Gulf Province, 21 nurses and health workers were certified as TB health workers following a week-long training. Health workers from facilities within the Kikori district engaged in the Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) training that covered TB case management and treatment; and the reporting and recording data. It also included a day of training for 17 village volunteers as treatment supporters.
As TB patients are required to be consistent in taking doses for treatment, supporters help to ensure that patients are correctly taking their medication until their full treatment is completed. With DOTs, patients are closely monitored at their local health facility.
Mike Junior, a village volunteer treatment supporter, was grateful for the training and acknowledged the support of parties involved.
“Sik TB em bikpela hevi lo komuniti. Bikos lo dispela mipela kam na kisim skul we bai mipela ken mekim bai sik TB noken kamap bikpela,” Mike said.
[“TB has become a burden in our communitites. That’s why we have made a commitment to be TB village treatment supporters so we can help stop the spread of TB.”]
The training is a result of a partnership between the National Health Department, Oil Search Foundation and Gulf Christian Services, with help from World Vision and the Central Public Health Laboratory.
Oil Search Foundation’s Public Health Officer, Clement Kumaru said, “Combatting the threat of TB needs ongoing partnership and commitment from all stakeholders if we want to lessen the burden of the disease.”
Gulf Provincial Health Advisor, Ben Bal, was impressed by the commitment of health workers, volunteers and supporters of the DOT, and thanked Oil Search Foundation for their continued support as a development partner.
Kikori records some of the highest numbers of TB cases in PNG, so the training is a major achievement for Gulf Province as a sign of their commitment towards fighting tuberculosis.
Source: Oil Search Foundation