TB rate in Gulf among highest: Dr Dakulala

The tuberculosis (TB) infection rate in Gulf Province is more than double the estimate incidence for Papua New Guinea.

Deputy Health Secretary, Dr Paison Dakulala, said this in Kerema during a World TB Day program.

He said Gulf has one of the highest TB case notification rates along with the National Capital District and Western Province.

“Case notification for the 12-month period from April 2015 to March 2016 was 767 per 100,000,” he said.

“This rate is more than double the estimate of national incidence for PNG.”

The recent World TB Day brought together partners in Kerema to discuss the Gulf Province’s TB Emergency Response Strategy: 2016–2018.

The Gulf TB Plan is intended to guide the provincial response from 2016 through to the end of 2018 with one main goal: “To reduce tuberculosis in high endemic areas of two districts of the province, through active case finding.”

Dr Dakulala thanked everyone for the strong working partnership, saying; “The five main objectives of the TB plan will increase access and availability of TB services; enable early diagnosis through active case finding strategies; focus on patient-centred approach to address barriers preventing treatment completion; increase capacity by developing Kikori District Hospital into a second referral site for MDR-TB diagnosis and treatment; and closely focus on management, coordination and monitoring of the overall TB response among partners and resources in Gulf.”

The Oil Search Foundation (OSF) is actively working with government health authorities, Gulf Christian Health Services (GCHS) and the non-government organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), to combat the growing threat of Tuberculosis (TB) in the Gulf Province.

Since 2015, OSF has worked closely with its partners to develop a TB response for Gulf.

“The development of this critical emergency response plan for the Gulf Province is a step closer towards reducing the burden of TB in PNG,” said Chief Executive of the Oil Search Foundation, Kymberley Kepore.

“It’s a great example of what can be achieved through the power of partnerships, showing that communities can be positively impacted.”

Provincial Governor, Havila Kavo, expressed appreciation to the Oil Search Foundation for funding the development of the new strategy and the continued support of all partners in addressing the challenges faced by the Province.

Cedric Patjole