TB

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.

Young radiographer screens for TB in Daru

The 24-year-old radiographer travels around Daru Island in her bright red truck, featuring the slogan “Let’s kick TB out of PNG – Act now”, to conduct free chest screenings in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).

After graduating with a Bachelor of Medical Imaging Science degree in 2017, Mahabi joined the screening initiative this year following a residency at Port Moresby General Hospital and Daru General Hospital respectively.

GeneXpert machine donated to health authority

The new GeneXpert machine will enable immediate testing and diagnosis of patients with suspected TB.

PNG has a high incidence of TB and the threat of drug resistant strains challenges an already stretched health system.  With OSF’s donation of the GeneXpert, the HPHA staff are now able to detect TB cases in just two hours and start treatment immediately.

Dr Anthony Wal, Director of Clinical Services, said previously the HPHA had to wait for Port Moresby to send back test results which could take many weeks, especially with the difficultly in transport to Hela. 

Mass tuberculosis and leprosy screening in Marshalls

In 2013 the World Health Organisation reported the Marshalls had the second highest prevalence of TB in the world, 100 times higher than the US mainland.

It is also one of the few countries in the world still dealing with leprosy.

RNZ Pacific reports a new Ministry of Health screening programme which will run until September aims to cover the capital, Majuro, following a successful screening initiative on the island of Ebeye.

The biggest challenge once screening has been conducted will be getting people to complete their treatments.

Community treatment supporters make difference

The rate of new TB diseases in PNG is still the highest in the Western Pacific Region and the 10th highest in the world says WHO country representative, Dr Luo Dapeng.

The country’s has a sound National Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020 focusing on the quality of services and engagement of the community and LLG in TB control activities.

The government even entered into partnership with technical organisations and donor communities.

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.

Daru’s TB fight reaps rewards

The Daru accelerated response for TB sites has recorded positive response from patients.

The sites treat multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and drug sensitive cases which have gained significant improvement, noted Dr Sonia Madjus, technical leader of Western and NCD provinces’ TB response.

Dr Madjus said the loss in follow-up rate was previously 30 percent but this has seen an enormous reduction to less than 1 percent.

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TB treatment intensifies at electoral level

The accelerated response for TB treatment project identifies nine treatment sites and will involve community networking, volunteerism and leaders’ participation, to increase the TB treatment completion rate.

The project was recently launched.

The electorate has the highest population amongst the 3 electorates in the city, and has the highest incidence of TB prevalence rate in the city.

Health workers in Hela undergo training

The health workers will be given training on ‘Directly Observed Treatment’ (DOTS) placing them at the frontline of the TB fight.

The training comes as a result of a strengthened partnership between the Oil Search Foundation (OSF) and the Hela Provincial Health Authority (HPHA).

In a statement OSF Deputy Director, Kymberley Kepore said the Foundation works within existing government systems while continuously building on stakeholder relationships to enhance health service delivery.

Taking TB awareness to communities in the City

Individual Foundation and Kaugere clinical staff talked on general TB awareness and risks, protection and prevention, treatment and care, medication adherence, drug resistance, and importantly, stigma and discrimination associated with TB.

The Foundation’s Senior Accountant Ivy Frank, who is a long-time resident of Gabutu took the lead in organizing the event with Kaugere Clinic staff, local church leaders and the surrounding community.