Thursday, July 28, 2011

WHO monitors transfer of TB cases to PNG

 THE World Health Organisation is looking into monitoring the transfer of tuberculosis clinics from the Torres Strait to Papua New Guinea, The National reports.

The decision by the Australian and Queensland governments to move the clinics has been criticised by TB specialists who fear the move could exacerbate the spread of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Until July, the Australian government had been paying the Queensland state government to treat PNG nationals but Queensland Health said the funding was inadequate and it could not cater for more TB patients.

Last month, a spokeswoman for the Australian health department said its priority was to help PNG improve its own health services so that patients did not need to cross the Australian border.

The World Health Organisation denied reports it was intervening but in a media statement said it was actively involved in discussions with the PNG government.

WHO said that with appropriate planning and additional financial support, it believed PNG “will be able to manage TB cases and, as services improve, PNG will handle the more complex multi-drug-resistant form of the bacterial infection”.

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