28 Oct 2013

More work to be done to combat TB in Pacific

6:31 am on 28 October 2013

Médecins Sans Frontières says more work in combatting tuberculosis in the western Pacific is needed - the third most infected area behind Africa and South East Asia.

Its medical coordinator, Dr Jen Cohn, says cases in western Pacific nations account for one fifth of all cases found globally.

She says a recent breakthrough in diagnostic technology has allowed almost twice as many drug-resistant tuberculosis cases to be diagnosed in 2012 than in 2011 globally.

But she says despite this, an even more improved diagnostic tool needs to be researched for use in more isolated areas.

"There's only so much this technology can do. It still requires electricity, it still needs some technical support - so it can't be decentralised very, very far down into much more rural areas that don't have dependable electricity. So we're really in need still of an even better diagnostic test."

Dr Jen Cohn.