No quick fix for TB in PNG, says WHO

12:52 pm on 8 April 2016

The World Health Organisation wants people to be more realistic about efforts to control the tuberculosis epidemic in Papua New Guinea.

It said while there can be no quick fix, work was being done to try and control the problem.

This comes as pressure from international activist groups mounts over an increasing number of people being infected with multi-drug resistant TB.

PNG is among the top 14 countries with a high burden of Tuberculosis with WHO estimates reporting almost 26,000 new infections in 2014 - 2000 of which were multi-drug resistant.

But Pieter van Maaren of WHO in Papua New Guinea said an extensive programme to combat TB was already being rolled out and critics should have more realistic expectations.

"When people look at that, they say 'oh there is a programme in place so next year it should be solved' and that is really the issue. With Tuberculosis control you cannot expect a cure or a quick fix within one to two years it will really require a long term effort."

Mr van Maaren said a good comparison was Kiribati, which despite being tiny in size when compared to Papua New Guinea continued to have significant problems controlling its TB problem.