New strain of TB worries authorities

Lae News, Normal

The National – Monday, February 14, 2011

MULTI-drug resistant tuberculosis TB cases are becoming a concern for agencies working with the Morobe provincial health division to carry out advocacy programmes.
This form of TB is known medically as pulmonary TB.
It is also known locally as market TB, World Vision’s Emilly Meren said.
Meren, who is World Vision’s Huon Gulf advocacy communication social mobilisation coordinator, said of the 32 TB cases, eight were confirmed as being multi-drug resistant.
Four of the confirmed cases were from the Huon Gulf, she said.
Meren said three of the eight had died recently while awaiting laboratory results from Australia and five were under treatment.
She said the number of suspected cases in Lae was believed to be the highest in the province.
Meren said pulmonary TB was becoming a threat to communities because it was contagious and the chances were about six in every 100 people.
Despite educating people through awareness and advocacy programmes while drugs were available to cure the disease, other suspects did not want to get their medication, she said.
Meren was referring to four pulmonary TB cases in Wampar who were avoiding medication.
“We’re optimistic to provide the best we can to educate and save lives,” she said.
“Despite our efforts, however, unavailability of proper laboratory facilities and equipment for sputum test was a concern, she said.
She told the second lead-up meeting towards World TB Day (March 4)  held between Huon Gulf district administration officers and local level government presidents, World Vision and the private sector.
She urged everyone to address TB in workplaces and homes.