How we’re helping in Papua New Guinea

Improving access to screening and treatment for tuberculosis

Giakila, left, has been diagnosed with drug-resistant TB. Here she talks to MSF's counselor about her medication.
Papua New Guinea 2017 © Sophie McNamara
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Tuberculosis (TB), the second-highest cause of mortality in Papua New Guinea, remained a key challenge for the country’s health services and the focus for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 2018. 

In collaboration with the national TB program, we are working to improve screening, diagnosis, treatment initiation, and follow-up at Gerehu hospital in Port Moresby, the capital, and in the city of Kerema in Gulf province.

In 2018, our priority was to improve patient care, adherence to treatment and treatment success. With this in mind, we started discussions with the Ministry of Health on the implementation of the World Health Organization’s new treatment recommendations.

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MSF projects in Papua New Guinea

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The team in Port Moresby worked on patient follow-up and outreach activities to encourage, facilitate and improve adherence to treatment. Our patient numbers increased over the course of the year, suggesting growing acceptance of MSF, while at the same time revealing the lack of screening and diagnosis services in the capital.

We also scaled up our mobile activities, running clinics in remote areas in the Gulf province and providing better access to diagnosis and treatment for patients previously excluded from these services for geographical, economic or cultural reasons. The decentralized model of care means that patients do not need to come to a medical facility so frequently. We also introduced improvements in quality of care, with the integration of HIV testing, greater emphasis on counseling, and closer monitoring of patients, their treatments, and any side effects.


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