The National, Thursday 24th November 2011
By SHIRLYN BELDEN
THE Southern region is reported to have the highest number of tuberculosis cases in the country.
National TB programme manager Dr Paul Aia of the national Department of Health revealed this at the launching of the TB DOTs programme for Central in the National Capital District last Thursday.
The cases were detected through clinical checks carried out at the local aid posts and health centres in 2008.
The region reported 4,000 cases apart from NCD which reported 3,000, Momase 3,000, Highlands 2,000 and New Guinea Islands 2,000. This meant that the total number of cases was 14,000 for 2008.
The provinces include Milne Bay, Central, Northern, Gulf and Western.
Aia said the cases, updated and reported in the last two years, had risen to an estimated 16,000 to 18,000. He could not provide the official figures.
“This figures are saying people are being killed every year by TB more than other diseases. TB has a high mortality rate in PNG apart from other diseases and is still growing,” he said.
The national TB DOTs programme is part of the plan.
Aia said a working partnership was also crucial in the fight against TB.
“HIV/AIDS and TB go together – one weakens the immune system and the other kills. The fight against HIV must not neglect TB and vice versa.
“Authorities concerned must work in partnership in order to tackle the growing number of TB and HIV cases and mortality in PNG,” he said.
The TB DOTs programme is yet to be fully rolled out to provinces including Gulf, Northern, East New Britain, West New Britain, Autonomous Region of Bouganville, Manus, Enga, New Ireland and West Sepik.