21 Jun 2011

End to TB treatment at some Torres Strait clinics slammed by PNG governor

1:12 pm on 21 June 2011

The governor of Western Province in Papua New Guinea says only about 20 people from the province's coastal villages seek treatment each year for tuberculosis at Australian clinics in the northern Torres Strait islands.

Bob Danaya, who is also a medical doctor, says the plan to stop operating TB clinics in Bogu and Saibai from next month is inhuman and may be racist.

The federal government is withdrawing funding for the TB clinics though Queensland Health says PNG nationals needing emergency care would still get it.

Dr Danaya says most Western Province TB sufferers are treated at Daru hospital and he says Australia needs to stop exaggerating the level of help given.

He says closing the clinics would also victimise Torres Strait islanders.

"And anybody who is seeking urgent medical help - doesn't matter where they are internationally - they must be given medical treatment, and the way that the Queensland Government and the Federal Government have made that decision is unethical and it is inhuman and has got some racial slur in there."