16 Sep 2009

Number of of drug resistant TB cases in Papua New Guinea is rising

10:34 am on 16 September 2009

The number of drug resistant tuberculosis cases in Papua New Guinea is rising.

Four drugs are given to treat the microbacterium but these drugs are becoming less effective as multi-drug resistant TB continues to increase.

One strain cannot be treated with two of those four drugs, while another strain, known as X-DR TB cannot be treated with any of the four drugs.

PNG respiratory specialist Dr Jerry Minei, says the basic problem is that health workers are restricted in terms of resources available to go out into the communities to monitor and supervise patients who are on treatments.

"A lot of times the patients are left on their own to be treated and you're relying on patients trust and patients compliance and in Papua New Guinea that's a very huge problem in terms of relying on patients to give them medications. So many times these patients may discontinue therapy and as a result of that we are now seeing a lot of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in the country."

Dr Jerry Minei says more resources need to be given to healthcare workers to ensure patients are completing their treatments correctly.