THE fight against the spread of tuberculosis (TB) must not only continue, it must be enhanced, Australian Deputy High Commissioner to PNG John Feakes said.
“That is why this year’s World TB Day theme calls for total support and solidarity of all stakeholders within communities,” he said.
Speaking at the World TB Day commemoration in Lae last Wednesday, Mr Feakes reminded everyone to help the frontline “fighters of TB” comprising workers, doctors and scientists.
“TB ranks with HIV as one of the most deadliest disease in the world, registering as the third most common cause of death,” he said.
Mr Feakes said TB strikes those who are least able to defend themselves.
He said the partnership for development signed by prime ministers, Kevin Rudd and Sir Michael Somare in 2008 herald a new era of development cooperation to accelerate progress towards the MDG and PNG’s other development priorities.
“The partnership focuses on improving basic services such as health, education and transport, and what is needed for measurable success and how Australian aid can best support this,” he added.
A Health schedule to the partnership for development was agreed at the 2009 Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum.
Mr Feakes said the aim of the health schedule had been to support PNG Government’s implementation on national health strategies.
“The health schedule supports the target of reducing TB prevalence in high TB endemic districts,” he said.
In line with that focus, Australia has been funding a World Health Organisation TB adviser in PNG since 2001.
The Australian government has also provided a package of assistance to PNG for a laboratory capacity and clinical management programme focusing on TB and multi-drug resistant TB in Western province.
Two laboratories are planned: one in Daru Hospital, Western province, and one in the Central public health laboratory in Port Moresby.