THE National Tuberculosis programme (NTP) and direct observed treatment short course (DOTS) in the National Capital District, Morobe, Madang, Eastern Highlands and Milne Bay provinces have produced significant results, according to NTP manager Dr Paul Aia.
Dr Aia said the lessons learnt from these provinces “would direct and improve our further implementation of the programme in other provinces throughout the country”.
He said PNG was still failing to provide one in three patients the access to timely, accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.
Dr Aia said people needed innovative ways to reach others.
All women, men and children, no matter who they are and where they live should have access to TB care.
“In Papua New Guinea, the number of patients who are not being effectively detected and
treated is likely to be even higher,” Dr Aia said.
He pointed out that PNG’s challenging geography, limited infrastructure, unpredictable communication systems and linguistic and cultural diversity posed unique challenges for the national TB programme’s implementation. Making an official statement from the National TB programme implementing partners and agencies at the World TB Day press conference in Port Moresby, Dr Aia said these factors must not be excused for failures but rather seen as opportunities “to act innovatively and take cross-sectoral approach to fighting TB within the context”.
Dr Aia also indicated that it was no longer acceptable that one Papua New Guinean continues to die of TB every two hours.
“These are people in your communities; they are people in your families.
“They are people who had hopes and dreams for the future.
“Yet their time has been stolen from them by a disease which is entirely curable,” Dr Aia said.