8 Dec 2011

TB hard to treat in PNG

4:26 pm on 8 December 2011

World Vision in Papua New Guinea says multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is a significant problem in PNG and strengthening the National Tuberculosis Strategy is vital.

The manager of World Vision's TB programme in PNG, Marlon Villanueva, says improving infrastructure, supporting the health workforce and sticking to the National TB strategy, are the keys to eliminating multi-drug resistant TB.

He says international funding over the past four years is helping to improve access to treatment but it is becoming harder to treat the disease with antibiotics.

Mr Villanueva says people should be aware of the symptoms of tubercolosis.

"Two to three weeks of cough, that's the number one cardinal sign of tuberculosis. And some of the secondary signs are weight loss, loss of appetite, chest and back pains, low grade fever. And with the country with very high HIV, your resistance is also compromised."

Marlon Villanueva says people must complete the course of antibiotics prescribed by a doctor to treat TB, even if they feel better quickly.