2 Aug 2010

Marshall Islands report highlights ongoing TB battle

3:52 pm on 2 August 2010

The Marshall Islands Ministry of Health's quarterly report to the United States government has highlighted the republic's ongoing battle with tuberculosis.

The report showed that supply problems on Ebeye meant that although health workers were effective in screening for the disease, they lacked both the test kits to determine the type of TB detected and the drugs to treat it.

Our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson, says one of the most critical issues is with people who tested positive for TB but were not necessarily contagious.

"Sometimes the tests show they should be put on preventive courses of medication to prevent them from developing TB and so this is a real concern issued by this Ministry of Health report, that if they didn't have the medications to address the problems they're identifying then the whole prevention effort is really undermined."

Giff Johnson says overcrowding on Ebeye is a contributing factor to the persistence of TB.