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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This information is excerpted from MSF’s 2017 International Activity Report.

In Papua New Guinea, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) focused on expanding access to care and improving adherence to treatment for patients with tuberculosis (TB).

TB was declared a major public health emergency in Papua New Guinea, with almost 30,000 new cases in 2016. It is the fourth biggest cause of death in hospital admissions, and the principal cause of mortality among HIV/AIDS patients.

In collaboration with the national TB program, MSF focuses on improving screening, diagnosis, treatment initiation and follow-up at Gerehu hospital, in the capital Port Moresby. Mobile teams also work in the community to improve patient adherence to treatment.

In Gulf province, MSF expanded its TB program to support two health centers as well as Kerema general hospital. Difficult access to remote areas and the lack of an effective follow-up system result in a high number of patients not completing their treatment. In collaboration with the provincial authorities, MSF continues to develop a decentralized model of care facilitating access to diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up closer to patients’ homes.

In 2017, MSF initiated treatment for more than 2,100 patients with drug-sensitive TB, and 53 with drug-resistant TB.