23 Mar 2007

UN says spread of TB in PNG under-reported

8:24 am on 23 March 2007

The World Health Organisation in Papua New Guinea says the spread of tuberculosis is under-reported and it's likely that more than the estimated 50 percent of its population is infected with the disease.

The Global Fund has agreed to give PNG 20 million US dollars for the next five years to help in it its fight against TB.

The technical assistant for the WHO's tuberculosis control programme, Iraingo Moses, says the five-year strategy will help monitoring and improve evaluation as most centres treat TB but don't report it.

She says the strategy should also ensure quality diagnosis and regular drug supplies, helping with direct observation treatments and the government's commitment to placing medical resources in regional areas.

Miss Moses says the funding will expand WHO's TB programme to parts of the country that aren't being treated.

"This money should help us get our coverage up to around 80 per cent of the population and help us to detect more than 70 per cent of all new smear positive cases and also help us get our cure rate well above 85 per cent."