Tuberculosis (TB) is on the rise in the National Capital District, Western and Gulf provinces and the government will take measures to control it, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said yesterday.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the outbreak of measles in the country is also of concern to the government and he appealed to parents to do their bit in assisting by getting their children to hospitals and health centres for vaccinations.
He said this at a media conference with Health Minister Michael Malabag, secretary Pascoe Kase, National Planning Minister Charles Abel and Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato after a meeting with World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo in Parliament yesterday.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said there were discussions on a range of issues concerning the health sector in the country. "The government has invested a sufficient amount of money in the National Health Plan. Still the challenges are substantial. This is where the WHO regional director asks for co-operation in working together."
"We face challenges in specific areas like TB as expressed to us by the regional director and our secretary has clearly articulated this on many occasions, that TB is again on the rise in many communities throughout the country and those that are constantly not on medication that are supplied to them are developing resistance."
The Prime Minister urged all those affected by TB to stay on the drugs that the doctors recommend. "The cases in Gulf, Western province and NCDC are of concern, as seen in the slight increase. Though not at an alarming rate, we are still taking precautionary measures in making sure that when family members are infected they are referred to hospitals and are confined in an environment that we can control and can administer the treatment that they need."
"The drug resistant in TB patients is increasing because people are continuously missing out on drugs. As a result the cost of delivering drugs and care to these patients is also on the increase. On average it costs around USD20-25 000 to care for drug resistant patients.” He said the government will carry out a major awareness exercise over the next few months.