THE drug-resistant tuberculosis outbreak in Daru and Western Province has not yet been brought under control, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Department.
Both said in a media statement this week that the report inPost-Courier last week that TB in the province was under control was "misunderstood".
The report quoted Daru General Hospital acting CEO Orpah Tugo and provincial TB physician Dr Stenard Hiasihri telling the parliamentary committee on public sector reform and service delivery which visited Daru that the TB outbreak had been contained.
Sister Tugo and Dr Hiasihri said that through the joint efforts of donors like AusAid, Bennett Institute and World Vision, they were able to manage the outbreak including conducting of rural patrols to outlying villages to stop the spread.
However, WHO and Health Department said Western Province still had a high TB burden which was not under control. They said that a lot of challenges, including health system delivery issues, lack of ownership, support and commitment at all levels and socio-economic issues, had contributed to the continuously high TB and multi-drug resistant (MDR TB) burden in Daru and Western.
"Daru hospital recently reported a TB outbreak with a high degree of panic among health workers and the community alongside hospital management issues," they said in a statement, adding that the hospital management issues and the panic had been sorted out and settled but the TB crisis, including drug resistant TB, was not over and was far from being under control "unless and until the underlying challenges are addressed successfully".
The statement said as part of improving MDR TB control in Daru and PNG, the Health Department had the regional green light committee (GLC) initiative to PNG to review the progress and the quality of MDR TB program. The GLC members visited on May 10-16 and observed TB control in both Daru and the National Capital District.
The GLC observed that although there had been much improvement in the management of MDR and extreme drug resistance (XDR) TB in Daru and Western Province, the TB crisis within the province is far from over and there are still major weaknesses that need to be urgently addressed to improve the provincial TB program performance.
Source: Post Courier