PORT MORESBY: Opposition Leader Don Polye has queried Prime Minster Peter O’Neill’s hyperbolised efforts in combating Tuberculosis in the country.
Mr Polye said O’Neill’s campaign on fighting TB did not prove to hold water, given that new reported cases of drug-resistant TB in Milne Bay.
“O’Neill should not beat his breast when the epidemic is spreading across the Southern region (except Oro) without any control measure being taken. “The government’s complacency and incompetency in addressing the issue indicate that O’Neill has not been very serious about it,” he said.
Polye said top health officials in the United Kingdom and United States had warned that resistance of bacteria to medicines was a catastrophe, adding its threat is as equal as that of terrorism and climate change.
“The current prominence of exclusively drug-resistant TB is no real surprise but portrays an urgent need to address the crucial issues of drug usage at all health facilities level,” he said.
Polye said a major cause of the acceleration of antibiotic resistance was the inappropriate use of the medicines, and the inadequate action of the National Department of Health to monitor drug usage.
He added that there was lack of public awareness on the proper use of antibiotics, and not enough regulations to ensure medicine suppliers and medical personnel sell or prescribe the medicines properly.
“Papua New Guinea is, in fact on a time bomb of potential catastrophe of public health disasters, given the easy accessibility and availability of prescription drugs anywhere and everywhere,” he said.
Polye said the alternative government’s position on TB was to create a National Drug Authority to effectively monitor all facets of drug usage in the country and set up TB check-points at the airports and wharves of the affected provinces to contain any further spreading.