THE township of Daru in Western Province PNG was on TB awareness drive yesterday as the majority of the island’s general hospital nursing staff contracted multi drug resistant tuberculosis.
The disease has infected nine nurses, one seriously, and paralysed health services.
Following a sit-in protest on Monday, staff took to the streets of Daru yesterday to remind residents that Western Province was currently an epidemic hot spot for the transmission of multi drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis.
They also called on provincial leaders to do more to protect lives and support the fight against TB.
"There is currently lack of support for TB program at provincial and local levels," said hospital executive officer Colin Ananga.
"Daru town desperately needs an aggressive action because the disease is posing a threat to every one of us."
Mr Ananga said that at present, drug resistant TB posed a major threat to an already weak TB control program in Western Province.
"If this threat is not addressed immediately, Daru town and Western province as a whole will be confronted with huge political, structural and economic collapse, the situation will worsen," he said.
The hospital’s acting chief executive officer Dr Naomi Pomat also took part in the awareness program.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Michael Malabag will call for an urgent ministerial follow-up taskforce meeting on tuberculosis in coming days, among other things, to address TB and drug resistant TB in three provinces, including Western Province.
They plan a short-term measure for immediate actions over three months.
Also in the October taskforce meeting held last year 2014, the only governor who was present to pledge support at the meeting was Western Governor Ati Wabiro, who said he was doing much but said he could not fight TB alone.
An emergency response is in place to address MDR and XDR TB in three provinces, particularly Western which has the highest drug resistant TB, followed by NCD and parts of Central which have the next highest MDR TB cases and Gulf Province.
Tuberculosis is a widespread, and in many cases fatal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usuallyMycobacterium tuberculosis.