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 programme, 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 programme to support two health centres 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 decentralised 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.