By ELLEN TIAMU
DARU in Western last Thursday received a new mobile clinic to assist in the fight to subdue and eradicate tuberculosis (TB) in the area which continues to be the worst hit in the country.
The mobile clinic consists of a truck and shipping containers that hold TB testing and X-ray equipment. The mobile unit can be used to go around Daru Island, or even the mainland if necessary, to conduct tests.
The sensitive equipment, costing K1.3 million, was bought in the Netherlands and brought to Papua New Guinea by the Department of Health.
South Fly district, which includes Daru, was declared an emergency response area about three years ago after it was found to have a high level of TB infection.
Overseas partners such as the World Bank, World Vision, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, World Health Organisation, Burnett Institute, Australian High Commission, and HSIP are all working with the Department of Health, Daru Hospital and the provincial health office to try to curb the disease.
TB figures have not changed much with Daru Hospital chief executive Orpah Tugua putting the current figure at around 300 DSTB patients, and 78 for MDRTB cases. She estimates that there are five new cases every month.
Deputy Health Secretary Paison Dakulala estimates that for every person that contracts the disease, 15 others are infected.
He said this might mean that the battle against TB in South Fly can take as long as 10 to 15 years before the results start to get better.
By ELLEN TIAMU