By Eric Haurupma – EM TV, Port Moresby
NCD Health Services, through the National Health Department, is taking a bold stance to address the tuberculosis epidemic in Port Moresby.
Health Services Advisor, Dr Gary Ou’U, has reaffirmed that TB poses health risks to international activities like the 2015 Pacific Games and the APEC Summit.
He said the TB epidemic will be addressed through medical checks in all health facilities to ensure proper treatment is provided.
“Continuous support and funding from the Health Department and local MP’s will be an advantage to seriously addressing the TB epidemic in NCD.”
Dr Ou’U made this statement in response to the recent TB outbreak in NCD, recording over 6000 patients in 2014. “NCD is one of the TB hotspots, apart from the Western and Gulf Provinces.”
NCD Health Services plans to improve the TB control program that will run for twelve months. This formalised program has specific activities planned to address TB in the capital city.
There are two forms of TB: Sensitive TB, where patients undergo nine months of treatment, and Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to, at least, isoniazid and rifampicin, the two most powerful, first-line (or standard) anti-TB drugs. Persons with MDR-TB undergo two years of treatment.
Over 180 drug resistant patients have been identified and brought to health facilities to receive treatment, while the rest have yet to be identified, diagnosed and treated.
Dr Ou’ U urged city residents to seek medical check-ups in designated hospitals, and clinics in the city while experiencing cough persisting for two weeks.
Meanwhile, the health department has donated five vehicles yesterday to facilitate in providing medical services to NCD residents.
Eric Haurupma is a UPNG Journalism student.