Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tuberculosis management in Western province


AusAID support to the Government of PNG to manage TB in the Western Province of PNG is leading to better detection, treatment and management of TB. With AusAID’s assistance TB mortality rates have been dramatically reduced in Western Province—from 25 per cent to just 5 per cent in the past year.

AusAID has upgraded the X-Ray unit at Daru Hospital, which enables patients with TB to be detected and treated more quickly.


The challenge

PNG has the highest TB burden in the Pacific region with over 14,531 new cases diagnosed a year and a total rate of 434 per 100,000 people. Since 2011, 63 cases of drug resistant TB have been diagnosed in Western Province. With AusAID’s support, the Government of PNG is putting in place a comprehensive, best practice approach to detection and treatment of TB in Western Province.

What Australia is doing to support PNG manage TB Western Province

AusAID has committed an initial $11 million over four years to help support the Government of PNG to strengthen control of TB in Western Province—AusAID has spent $3.5 million in 2011–12 and will spend $5.3 million 2012–13. Our support includes provision of TB specialist staff, training for community health workers and volunteer treatment supporters, medical equipment, drugs, a sea ambulance, and funding for high level laboratory diagnosis in Australia of drug resistant TB. AusAID is supporting the Government of PNG to improve Daru Hospital’s TB infrastructure and will commit further funds for health refurbishment in Western Province over the longer-term. Work has begun on a new TB isolation ward and AusAID has committed further funds for the redevelopment of Daru Hospital. In addition, AusAID supports the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, which is investing USD19 million in supporting the Government of PNG manage TB nationally.

AusAID’s support is delivering results

AusAID support has helped PNG authorities to establish better surveillance, detection, diagnosis and treatment for TB. This provides a real and sustainable alternative to seeking treatment in Australia. Daru Hospital is now successfully identifying and treating more cases. In the South Fly district in August 2012, 34 new TB cases were detected and commenced treatment; compared with 48 patients in the last quarter of 2011. TB mortality rates have been dramatically reduced in Western Province—from 25 per cent to just 5 per cent in the past year.

We’re making a difference to the lives of Papua New Guineans with TB

This assistance is already making a difference to Papua New Guineans, such as Duba Sedrick, who is the first paediatric patient and the youngest ever to be treated at Daru General Hospital for multi-drug resistant TB. It also means that people in Western Province can now access TB treatment in their communities.

A comprehensive, best practice approach

The World Health Organization (WHO)—the global authority on TB—has endorsed PNG’s approach to managing TB. This is being implemented with AusAID assistance. Ensuring that patients take the full course of TB drugs at the right time over the full duration of treatment is recommended as the most effective way to treat TB and prevent the development of drug resistance. The Commonwealth Government’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley, has also stated that the approach being taken in Western Province will improve outcomes for communities in Daru and South Fly and will also better manage risks to Torres Strait communities. Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, says that Queensland is not at risk of drug-resistant TB spreading from PNG nationals who come to the state's far north for treatment.

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