Thursday, October 27, 2016

TB patients don’t finish treatment

PAPUA New Guinea has a long history of accessing tuberculosis drugs with poor supervision. Large proportions of patients do not finish their treatment. This was a serious concern raised yet again yesterday at another campaign and this time, a bigger one to curb the spread of the dreaded disease TB. World Health Organisation country representative Dr Pieter Van Maraan and the Health Department Deputy Secretary Dr Paison Dakulala both say that PNG has never been able to control TB which has the potential to spiral out of control. “Large proportions of patients don’t finish their treatment, poor quality diagnosis, limited capacity promptly to identity patients with drug resistance TB, overcrowded settlement and extreme poverty. All these factors contribute alarmingly to TB drug resistance situation in the nation’s capital and the country,” Dr Van Maraan said. At the National Capital District Commission’s five-year TB strategic plan (2016-20) launch yesterday, it was reported that there are 384 reported cases TB of which 146 are admitted to Port Moresby General Hospital. Some have defaulted from TB treatment regime and pose danger to community and could not be reached by NCD TB surveillance team. NCD, like Gulf and Western, is hot spot for TB and concerns have also been raised that although the nation’s capital houses 5 per cent of PNG’s population, it has a quarter of TB challenge. Health Minister Michael Malabag and NCD Governor Powes Parkop launched the plan and pledged their support to fight TB. Separately, Mr Parkop said that while there was a lot of infrastructure development and law and order programs in the city, people need to take ownership of cleanliness but it starts with individual’s health. By doing so, TB could be eradicated. Other partners that pledged support are Australian High Commission and the US Government.