By Quinton Alomp – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Significant improvement has been made in tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis, treatment and care on Daru Island, Western Province.
Statistics from the provincial health office reveal a high number of people diagnosed with primary TB (Drug Sensitive) and the advanced form known as Multi-Drug Resistant or MDR-TB and Extensively Drug Resistant or XDR-TB, are now on regular medication than in 2011.
In 2011, 60 per cent cases of patients diagnosed with TB missed their prescribed doses and failed to follow up on their medication.
This has resulted in a high number of MDR cases.
But that is not the case now. The 2015 statistics have shown a big improvement with only three per cent loss to follow up at six months.
This means that the detection rate has increased and patients are now up-to-date with treatment.
Deputy Health Secretary, Dr Paison Dakulala, was impressed with the results when visiting Daru General Hospital last week.
Dr Dakulala said a sustained progress has been made in TB diagnosis, treatment and care with the support of non-government organisations and donors like AusAID.
At present, there are 165 MDR and 10 XDR TB patients actively on treatment at Daru General Hospital.
One XDR patient treated with Bedaquiline, a new drug for advanced TB, has recovered successfully last year.
The Australian government has spent AU$60 million (approximately K132 million) on addressing TB in Papua New Guinea, with a significant portion spent in Western Province.
NGOs like World Vision, Burnet Institute and Health and HIV Implementation Service Provider (HHISP) have made significant progress in fighting TB in Daru.
World Vision is providing free lunch for patients and has decentralised treatment sit’s to five areas in Daru Island, making access to treatment easier.