By DULCIE OREKE
THE implementing agencies of the National Tuberculosis programme (NTP) are calling on all sectors of the society to ensure that the international support for TB in PNG continues after 2012.
The international support ends in 2012, and communities, health centres, businesses, and the Government must have full ownership of TB control strategies to ultimately eliminate tuberculosis in PNG.
The work of NTP is presently funded by a Global fund grant which the Department of Health uses to implement all aspects of the programme in collaboration with the sub-recipients including World Health Organisation, Jane Thompson Association, Hope Worldwide (PNG) and World Vision Pacific Development Group.
It was highlighted in a statement released during the World TB Day conference in Port Moresby, that clear and sustained political commitment by national and provincial governments was crucial if basic direct observed treatment short course (DOTS) was to be effectively implemented in the country.
“As we move forward, effective lobbying of Government sectors must also involve TB prevention and control measures into sustainable legislation,” the statement read.
It was also stressed in the statement that to effectively detect, diagnose and control TB in PNG “we require the strengthening and development of a network of properly equipped laboratories with trained personnel” with the aim to establish one laboratory for every 50,000 people.
In addition, it was pointed out that TB care should identify and address factors that may interrupt or stop patients from receiving their treatment.
“Treatment must be carried out in a context – specific and patient-center manner so to guarantee a cure.
“Additional measures should be undertaken to identify and address physical, financial, social and cultural barriers which prevents suspects from accessing TB treatment and health care services quickly”.
The statement also highlighted that an uninterrupted and sustained supply of quality assured anti-TB drugs was fundamental to TB control.