New TB strand threatening Chimbu

Letters, Normal

The National,Tuesday March 8th, 2016

 THERE is an upsurge of tuberculosis (TB) infection in Chimbu province. 

A review of TB/HIV by provincial disease control officer and senior doctors from Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital has confirmed this.

This is alarming and Chimbu parliamentarians must intervene and support the programme to prevent and eradicate TB. 

Unlike HIV/AIDS, TB is curable.

Tuberculosis and other sickness are now a public health burden which requires collective efforts all our leaders and people to minimise its spread.

On top of treating normal TB infection, there is the other threat of multi drug resistant tuberculosis. This has resulted from TB patients not adhering to and fully complying with their treatment.

The discovery of multi drug resistant TB in Chimbu rings alarm bells for the province to rise up and keep this new TB infection from spreading further to infect more people.

Teams from the provincial health unit and Kundiawa hospital have done a tremendous job to keep MDR TB isolated. Their initiatives should continue to be well supported.

All provinces in PNG have couple of multi drug resistant TB with Western and NCD on top of the list. 

We do not want to see more or increase cases of MDR in Simbu.

Multi drug resistant tuberculosis is likely to occur when ordinary TB patients do not complete their prescribed treatment.

And the worst case scenario is when people with MDR TB spread it to healthy people. This would make it much more complicated to treat.

Senior doctors who presented data from Kundiawa hospital indicated that pulmonary TB was the leading cause of all admissions. 

All five districts of Chimbu have an increasing number of TB cases, of which Gumine is leading followed closely by Kerowagi and Sinasina. Chuave and Karamui districts are not far behind.

The problem is that there are more defaulters than those who actually complete prescribed TB treatment.

We need to do something to address this problem. 

Health workers have been trained and resourced to manage TB in Chimbu and it is because of their team work that makes health programmes successful in our province. 

Moreover, TB needs political support.

Health officers have done so much and for them to go extra mile, they need collective support from all stakeholders. 

Leaders of the province, especially MPs, should intervene to lead the fight against ordinary and multi drug resistance TB.

Our MPs should set aside DSIP funds for health intervention programmes and TB should be given top priority. 

The DSIP health component should be directed towards building more wards at the district health centres than on buying more vehicles which would break down after few years.

Wards with more beds should be where multi drug resistance TB patients would stay to fully complete their treatment before being discharged.

Chimbu does not want to see many people being infected with MDR TB. 


Pascal Murake

Yongomugl, Chimbu