by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV News, Lae
The Malahang Health Centre has doubled in the last three years from five patients a day to slightly over 10, all going to the treatment facility for TB related tests and treatment.
The facility treats people around the surrounding Busu, Backroad and the Bumayong settlements.
Health Worker Adrian Kakayan says the increase in the number of people visiting the centre is due to awareness, and people being able to identify the symptoms of TB.
“We see slightly over 10 patients a day, both pulmonary TB and extra pulmonary TB,” he says.
But after detection, the challenge is providing actual treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis, also known as market TB, that is highly contagious.
“The number of patients infected is going up, last year it was over 150,” says Kakayan.
Statistics have increased for various reasons. Two that stood out for health staff at the clinic were when patients don’t complete their medication, and a lack of proper hygiene sanitation practices.
The public risk of TB can be seen at the Malahang main bus stop, two minutes from the Health Centre, everyday.
It comes as the government cuts back K50 million in funding going to church-operated health facilities around the country, many of whom treat TB patients.
It also comes when authorities contain an outbreak of mutli-drug resistant TB in Daru, thanks in part to K132 million in Australian Aid funding.