Daru Island

Retired nurse returns to help TB emergency response

With over 40 years of nursing experience and a heart-warming smile, Sr Ase has become a familiar face across Daru Island, Western Province, working with communities on the frontline of the emergency response to tuberculosis (TB).

As the Emergency TB Response Nursing Officer at Daru General Hospital, Sr Ase’s role is to visit households where people have been newly diagnosed with TB and investigate if other family members are also showing signs and symptoms.

The neglected island

The deteriorating state of the island in Western Province is blamed on the lack of political will, as Town Mayor Samuel Wingu pointed out.

Daru Island has a population of about 20,000 people while the island itself is as big as a suburb from Port Moresby or Lae City.

One would think that given its size, including being part of the few Torres Strait Islands, Daru and its people would be well off.

Sadly, this is not the case.

Daru will undergo TB screening

This initiative comes after Daru Island was flagged as a TB hot spot in 2014 and later declared as a national public health emergency in 2015.

The systemic screening will be done in a mobile van equipped with computer aided x-ray and electronic medical tools.

This will enable the detection of more cases at the earliest and also give a clear understanding on the disease burden in Daru.

The introduction of this innovation will pave the path for newer diagnostics, new drugs and quick response in treatment and management.

K8 million to fight TB in Daru

This funding will be used by the National TB program to strengthen activities they have in Daru.

TB Manager Dr Paul Aiya says the TB situation on Daru is unfortunate but they are doing all they can to help cure people.

He says the money will be used to strengthen the TB ward at the Daru General Hospital as it is currently overcrowded.

The TB response team in Daru have set up four treatment posts through communities to make treatment closer and more accessible to people.