March 31, 2016

PNG has highest TB prevalences in the Western Pacific Region

PAPUA New Guinea has the highest tuberculosis prevalence in the Western Pacific region and the 10th highest globally, according to the World Health Organisation.
In 2014, WHO estimated the TB incidence to be at 417 per 100,000 people (31,000 new cases every year), with a prevalence of 529 per 100,000 (39,000 cases every year), and a death rate of 40 per 100,000 among HIV-negative people.
WHO medical officer Dr Tauhid-ul Islam said in Port Moresby yesterday that TB was the fourth highest cause of death for those admitted in PNG hospitals. It was also the major cause of mortality among HIV/AIDS patients.
“TB is a social disease and a disease of poverty,” he said.
“So obviously, this is very expensive for poor people, especially M/XDR-TB which is super expensive (costing between K15,000 and K30,000 per patient only for drugs).”
Islam said the health system cost was also very high.
He said prevention could be achieved by cutting the transmission chain through detecting cases early and getting effective treatment.
“The community can play a big role by raising awareness and assisting in the completion of the treatment,” he said.
“Stigma is the worst side-effect. Let us all be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Islam said the 2016 theme for the World TB Day, which was celebrated last Thursday, was “United to end TB”.
“Government or the health department alone can’t do it. We all need to be together to raise awareness and become TB warriors. The National / One PNG