World Vision is commemorating World Tuberculosis Day this Sunday, an international initiative to raise awareness of the deadly but treatable disease tuberculosis, and the impact prompt action can have on reducing its prevalence in vulnerable countries around the world.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) has the highest rate of TB in the Pacific region, however, a strong partnership between the government and NGOs such as World Vision is making great strides towards achieving global standards of cure rates.
Since 2007, 80% of the nation’s population has been reached with the life-saving education about TB, while access to free detection and treatment services has been made widely available to Papua New Guineans.
“PNG is reaching milestones in the reduction of TB with increased Government commitment and dedication by partners across all 22 provinces,” said World Vision PNG’s Country Director, Dr Curt von Boguslawski.
PNG’s National TB Program (NTP) is led by the National Department of Health, in collaboration with NGOs on the ground implementing effective TB programs across PNG. Provincial governments and NGO partners – World Vision, World Health Organisation, Hope Worldwide and Jane Thompson Associates International – have joined Papua New Guineans to significantly improve health.
The NTP programs follow the World Health Organisation’s TB control strategy, Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course (DOTS). It features ‘treatment supporters’ who provide patient supervision within communities by regularly visiting TB sufferers to ensure they take their medication. It is both more effective and significantly cheaper than treating every patient in healthcare facilities.
The DOTS treatment strategy means in most cases TB sufferers are able to lead a normal life by receiving care in their communities with the help of a treatment supporter.
“Such positive results of the DOTS program are a testament to a strong partnership between government, NGOs and corporate partners with a unified vision and mission: to eradicate TB in PNG,” said Dr von Boguslawski.
Dr von Boguslawski believes PNG’s TB program is equal to any. “If I were to contract TB I would prefer to be treated in PNG due to the high level of access, support and care for sufferers available here.”
The theme of this year’s World Tuberculosis Day is ‘Stop TB in my lifetime’, indicating the important role everybody has to play in spreading awareness of the disease, and keeping it on the political and community agenda.
Advocating and acting together will bring, step-by-step, a future without TB. World Tuberculosis Day reminds us we can achieve its eradication in our lifetime.
Curt von Boguslawski is available for interview; please contact Gabrielle Brophy on +675 7003 5656, +61 407 575 112 or firstname.lastname@example.org