29 Mar 2005

WHO says more training is needed in Pacific to detect TB

8:12 pm on 29 March 2005

The World Health Organisation's Pacific representative says it will conduct more training for medical laboratory staff to improve the detection of tuberculosis.

Dr Ken Chen says health workers in the Pacific still struggle to diagnose suspected cases of TB.

The WHO's latest estimate says there are two million people in the Asia Pacific region with TB, but half go undetected.

Dr Chen says there is a need for countries to work together to improve this.

"We are working with all the Pacific island countries to create a TB laboratory network, and to set up external quality assessment schemes to improve the detection rate."

Dr Chen also says low detection rates of TB in Papua New Guinea are of great concern.

And he says HIV/Aids sufferers are more likely to contract the highly infectious disease.