By Fabian Hakalits – EMTV News Port Moresby
The national government’s campaign to combat tuberculosis (TB) in Papua New Guinea is becoming a struggle with increased cases of multi-drug resistant TB being reported in Western Province and other hotspot provinces of Gulf and NCD.
The urgency of releasing funds to implement the Emergency Response Plan has become a grave concern for the National Health Department.
Deputy Health Secretary, Dr. Paison Dakulala, said that in Western province TB is a major public health issue with a case notification rate of 800.
“TB has been the leading cause for hospital admission and deaths that is compounded by the MDR case in Western province,” Dakulala said.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, in his response on questions raised by EMTV as to why the national government hasn’t released the K40 million for the TB Emergency Response Plan on time, he said K8 million was already given, and Treasury will release the rest of these funds soon.
Prime Minister O’Neill says that the national government will soon release funds to support the implementation of the response plan.
“So we will continue to release more funding, treasury will roll out funds as much as they can as funds come in,” he said.
The Prime Minister’said the government is working with Exxon Mobil to acquire some of its building facilities, as part of their LNG disposal program.
Dialogue is also progressing with contractors, to build new wards for TB registered patients, for monitoring purpose.
“New wards will be built, where those people who are drug resistant, must be on medicine,” O’Neill said.
The Prime Minister’said the national government is doing its best to ensure TB is controlled, and he appealed to people to avoid contracting the disease.
The Prime Minister thanked donors for their continuous support.