Tuberculosis remains a major threat to PNG. The spread of the disease is becoming more widespread, affecting larger numbers of the population. Those who have developed resistance to the most effective drugs is ever growing. For some who suffer from the highly resistant strains, there are very few options. Treatment is often long and drawn out, requiring a strict adherence to drug protocols. Effective diagnosis is crucial but can often be problematic. A feeling of being overwhelmed by the situation is often common.
OCDP continues its support of Popondetta General Hospital in its fight against TB. In conjunction with the building of a specialised TB ward, training and mentoring of the medical staff is ongoing.
Doctors who recently undertook training with OCDP discussed their concerns about TB. Early detection and diagnosis of the disease of the coughing patient is crucial. Some sick people seeking treatment, need to travel for many hours or even days to reach a health facility. Upon arrival, diagnosis and treatment then occurs late affecting the possible success of the situation.
Other health professionals explained that isolation of people with TB can occur in the community. This is often due to a lack of public awareness. The stigma of having the disease leads to sick patients being ostracized by their communities where their family and friends are based. As a result, they are forced to not only deal with managing their TB but often how they will cope with minimal or no support.
TB can be treated as Mrs Mulagwaula recently explained. As one of the administration staff at PGH, she contracted the disease. She was placed on a six-month long treatment plan which she completed. Now Mrs Mulagwaula explains that she feels well once more. Her sincere gratitude went to OCDP for the training that is being conducted at the hospital.
TB is a complex but treatable disease. However, measures need to be addressed for this to occur. OCDP assists Popondetta General Hospital to help ensure that they can best treat TB.