Then National, Wednesday 12th September, 2012
A FORMER CEO of the Tari Hospital recently declared that tuberculosis (TB) is spreading rapidly and that it would be disastrous for PNG.
Dr Bravy Koensong said TB was preventable and blamed the health sector and stakeholders for not doing enough.
He said people were dying and the government would now have to spend more money to buy powerful drugs for treatment.
While I commend him for highlighting this, I am surprised Dr Koensong did not highlight that TB was spreading because of the buai habit among Pa-pua New Guineans.
Buai chewers spit anywhere they please and if they suffer from TB, they also spread the disease through their spittle.
So much has been said about the dangers and unsightly consequences of this disgusting habit.
Unfortunately, the people choose to ignore it and continue to chew and spit as they please.
I disagree with Dr Koensong that the answer lies in mass immunisation.
As long as people ignore the warnings, TB is likely to stay.
TB aside, medical experts have also warned chewing buai also causes mouth and lung cancer, but again, people choose to ignore it.
Why then should I have any pity for such people?
I do not.
I, however, do sympathise with those who do not chew buai but contract TB because of the spittle from those who do.
This is similar to the argument that cigarette smokers are also spreading cancer to those who do not smoke.
In that sense, those who cause others to suffer TB are like those who hold a gun and pull the trigger.
Our health authorities should take a good, hard look at the issue and come up with appropriate laws.