World Vision scales up fight to tackle TB in PNG
World Vision is scaling up efforts to tackle tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea following warnings of a TB crisis in the region.
The World Health Organisation reported in November that infections of multi-drug resistant TB have reached crisis levels due to a lack of access to healthcare and treatment. Situated less than 200km from Australian shores, PNG has the highest rate of TB in the Pacific region.
With the high success rate of World Vision’s TB program now operating in 20 provinces across PNG, AusAID has granted US$2.9 million for World Vision to expand into Western Province. The Stop TB in Western Province project was launched in Daru, PNG yesterday.
“Papua New Guinea is the largest developing country in the Pacific and one of our closest neighbours, so it is critical that treatment is available and the crisis is contained,” World Vision Australia’s PNG Country Program Manager Dr Ian Grant said.
“Western Province is a particularly vulnerable area of the country, so we’re aiming to place TB high on the public and political agenda in PNG and foster community participation and ownership.”
Despite recent political turmoil in the island nation, Australian aid agencies continue to assist people on the ground in PNG. World Vision has seen extraordinary results through its TB program, which is part of the National TB Program. The organisation has contributed to a 60% national increase in detection rates of TB from 21% to 81% in three years and assisted many districts with TB programs to achieve the global target of an 85% cure rate.
“We’re very pleased with the progress already made through the TB projects in PNG and further encouraged today with the announcement of the AusAID grant partnership for Western Province,” Dr Grant said.
The Stop TB in Western Province project will forge a partnership between World Vision, AusAID, the Western Province Health Department and PNG’s National TB Program. The project will run until January 2016 and will target 92,000 people, 60% of the population of Western Province.
World Vision now manages both the Global Fund TB DOTS program and the Western Province TB project. Already World Vision in partnership with the National TB Program has reached 4.4 million people, 65% of Papua New Guinea’s population.
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