28 Jun 2004

Marshalls officials wants to toughen rules to fight TB

3:18 pm on 28 June 2004

The Ministry of Health in the Marshall Islands is calling on the government to amend the communicable disease law to give health officials more powers.

Under current laws, the Ministry doesn't have the power to enforce compliance, such as imposing penalties.

The Health secretary, Justina Langidrik, says often, patients don't comply with doctors' orders.

Health authorities are concerned at the rise in tuberculosis and their inability to enforce compliance with preventative health regulations.

Ms Langidrik says to halt the spread of TB, they are looking to screen those who work closely with the public.

Currently, only restaurant workers must have a TB clearance before starting work.

The ministry reports in the last two quarters, 36 new tuberculosis cases have been identified, indicating an upward trend.