Health Department, partners including World Vision prepare to kick TB out of Daru

The National Department of Health (NDoH) and partners in the effort to end TB in Daru, Western Province, gets a boost with a TB Mobile Clinic, unveiled by NDoH Deputy Health Secretary, Dr. Paison Dakulala.

The mobile TB clinic boasts an x-ray linked to a computerised sytem for on the spot x-ray and referral for diagnosis and treatment, depending on the results of x-ray. Through its "kick TB out of Daru campaign", World Vision will be doing community mobilisation to get households to show-up for the screening exercise.

Dr. Dakulala said while there are still challenges, a lot of good work has been done already on the ground by partners, including the GoPNG, Burnett Institute, Health & HIV Implementation Services Provider (HHISP) and World Vision, thanks to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and the World Bank.

"We are moving towards getting through the process of eliminating TB on the Island of Daru and in Western Province. How long it will take will depend on our partnership and what we have been doing. We are encouraged by the work that's been done right at the ground level with leadership in the community, with our people, as well as with our partners, including the Government of Papua New Guinea," said Dr. Dakulala.

Dr. Mark Jacobs, Director of Communicable Diseases, WHO Western Pacific Region who visited Daru to witness the occasion of the unveiling of the TB Mobile Clinic van, said that while there has been big improvements in TB all over the world, reduction in deaths and in the number of people getting sick with TB, it is still the number one infectious disease in the world.

"It is still causing ill health more than any other diseases. So there's still a lot the world needs to do to come to grips with TB," said Dr. Jacobs.

On a positive yet challenging note, Dr. Jacobs said the efforts in Daru and PNG were also discussed during a recent high level global meeting in Moscow. He said this indicates that the efforts so far in PNG in terms of the emergency response and particularly, the efforts and the achievements so far in Daru, are not just important for Daru, but also important for PNG, for the region and for the rest of the world. 

"That really shows how important the work here is and also means there is a big responsibility for all of us to really finish the job. There's a lot that has been done already, there's a lot of support from different donors, but now is the time to push on and really #KickTBOutofDaru, and really show the way for the rest of PNG and for many other countries in the world," said Dr. Jacobs.

 World Vision's Technical Adviser in for the Stop TB Western Province project, Dr Sonia Madjus, said with the mobile TB clinic, they hope to screen at least 85 percent of the population on Daru Island. 

"If we do that (screening), then we'll be able to put them (people) on treatment and of course we stop the transmission of TB in the community - and that's the most important part that we need to undertake right now," said Dr. Madjus.

Also there to witness the occasion were Australian Government and donor partners Andrew Dollimore, Health Program Manager from the Australian High Commission in PNG and Peter Lindenmayer, Director, PNG Human Development & Infrastructure from DFAT Canberra, National TB Program Manager Dr. Paul Aia and Western Provincial Health and government representatives.

See our gallery and related article here for more images from the event and related activities.