Alarming rise in WNB TB cases

The rise in TB cases in West New Britain Province is alarming.

Chairman of the West New Britain Provincial Health Authority, Dr. Mathias Sapuri, says as of the first quarter of 2017, there were 8,885 registered cases of TB in WNB.

This, Dr Sapuri says, highlights the obvious fact that there is ongoing TB transmission in the community of WNBP. Dr Sapuri also pointed out Gasmata and Kandrian as the two non-functional areas in terms of measuring the impact and rise in TB cases.

All these basic measurement units are not consistent with testing and reporting due to a number of reasons:

  • Constraints and strategies forward in TB/MDR-TB management in WNBP state the lack of or inadequate infrastructure;
  • There is currently no appropriate TB clinic and the current one is overloaded with patients that wait in long queues for a very long time on a daily basis; and
  • The TB ward is currently falling apart and needs upgrade, or even a new building.

A report produced by Dr Sapuri as the chairman of the WNBPHA states there is a need for a TB unit which will include a TB clinic, TB wards, TB clerk, office space and a cough triage clinic at Kimbe Provincial Hospital.

The cough triage initiative must be rolled out effectively to the rural health facilities and while the current MDR-TB ward is an achievement for the WNBPA, the proposed WHO MDR-TB building standard will not be feasible or practical due to the severe fund shortages outlined in the report.

(Picture: Aus-PNG Network - Lowy Institute)

Sophie Yaruso