Daru will undergo TB screening

The entire population of Daru Island will now undergo the TB systemic screening following yesterday's inauguration of the initiative.

This initiative comes after Daru Island was flagged as a TB hot spot in 2014 and later declared as a national public health emergency in 2015.

The systemic screening will be done in a mobile van equipped with computer aided x-ray and electronic medical tools.

This will enable the detection of more cases at the earliest and also give a clear understanding on the disease burden in Daru.

The introduction of this innovation will pave the path for newer diagnostics, new drugs and quick response in treatment and management.

Deputy Secretary for the National Department of Health and WHO co-chair, Dr Paison Dakulala, credited the systemic screening system to Daru's strengthened hospital management and infection control, establishment of community posts and better treatment outcome.

This population screening program will further complement the 5 Daru Accelerated Response for TB.

The 5 Accelerated Response sites attend to close to 60 multidrug-resistant TB cases, 58 drug resistant patients and 8 children 7 days a week.

28-year-old Hecto Bisai, who is currently accessing the TB treatment services, says the systemic screening comes at a crucial time where multidrug-resistant TB is rapidly rising.

He revealed that 1 in 10 cases are MDR-TB.

Bisai has been a recipient of these treatment programs for the last 9 months, of which he has attributed his survival to.

Daru is the pioneer of the TB systemic screening program and this experience will be used in other provinces.

TB treatment programs are financed and supported by the Government of PNG, World Bank, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, World Health Organization and World Vision.

Carolyn Ure