22 Mar 2007

Radical measures called for as PNG struggles to fight TB

8:11 pm on 22 March 2007

A doctor in Papua New Guinea says the country needs to take radical measures to fight the increasing rate of infection of tuberculosis.

The Global Fund has agreed to give PNG 20 million US dollars for the next five years to help in it its fight against TB.

The specialist medical officer for TB at the Port Moresby general hospital, Doctor Joseph Bana-Qoiri, says TB is not difficult to treat and the medicines are available but curing the disease is a lengthy process and patient compliance is a problem.

"The big thing is that we need the resources to actually recruit and train volunteers to supervise the treatment or to distribute treatment and make sure the patients that we diagnose are treated 12secs."

Doctor Bana Qoiri says treatment is divided into a two month intensive phase and a four month continuation phase.

He says if there was enough resources to supervise patients at least in the first phase, where patients go from being infectious to non-infectious, PNG would be able to get on top of the problem.