INADEQUATE infrastructure and staff allocation are major challenges faced by the West New Britain (WNB) Hospital in implementing its strategies in fighting tuberculosis
(TB), chairman Dr Mathias Sapuri says.
Sapuri said in a nine-page situation report, the hospital had recorded 8885 cases of TB in the first quarter of this year.
“The figures are alarming and highlight the obvious fact that there is ongoing TB transmission in the community of WNB.
“Paediatric TB accounts for 26 per cent – 28 per cent of all TB cases annually in PNG (2013 statistics by the Department of Health).”
He said the hospital management has highlighted their challenges and were currently working with the Health Department to address them.
The limitations faced in the province included:
- Lack of adequate infrastructure – there is a need for a TB unit which will include a TB clinic, TB wards, TB clerk, office space and a cough triage clinic at the provincial hospital;
- inadequate staff – the current proposed staff structure will include a medical officer, health extension officer, four nursing officers, two community health workers and a ward clerk;
- logistics support – the current TB vehicle has to be specifically for TB programmes. This will assist in treating and monitoring patients, therefore there is a need for a second vehicle for HIV programmes;
- treatment support – the treatment supporters programme is lacking and must be reviewed and strengthened;
- pharmaceutical supplies and consumables – the supply of TB and HIV drugs, TB and HIV consumables, radiological and laboratory consumables have been inadequate or unreliable in recent times and are significant contributors to the low case detections and low treatment success rates; and,
- Health awareness and promotions – with community participation, involvement of stakeholders, non-governmental organisations and the Government.
“PNG and WNB are sitting on the MDR-TB (multi-drug resistance TB) time bomb, the bomb is ticking and we are taking all the necessary steps to address this before this explodes in our face,” Sapuri said.
“As the chairman of WNBPHA, I am also announcing as a matter of urgency that we are launching an all-out war on TB and MRD-TB in WNB and PNG at the end of this month. The theme is Stop TB in WNB and Stop TB in PNG.”