Tuberculosis is a highly infectious disease that is impacting heavily on the population of PNG. Official statistics put the infection rate in PNG amongst the highest in the world at 541 cases per 100,000 population/year but anecdotal evidence suggests the disease is far more widespread.
Access to transport, a lack of understanding of the disease by the population as well as health professionals and difficulty in obtaining drugs, have all resulted in the current situation.
Well established protocols in the treatment of TB need to be followed. Health professionals are gradually developing their skills in this area. OCDP provides mentoring, guidance and training in the adaptations of the guidelines for use in a practical setting.
OCDP is also about to embark on the construction of a TB ward for PGH. Careful planning to ensure particular specifications are included has been a necessary step to ensure the success of the ward. TB can be managed but a comprehensive approach is needed.