23 Aug 2012

Australia urged to restore TB clinic services for Papua New Guineans

3:28 pm on 23 August 2012

Australia has been urged to reinstate funding for tuberculosis clinics in Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait islands amid warnings that TB infections are soaring.

The Courier Mail reports that doctors have warned of a growing humanitarian crisis in PNG's Western Province which is spreading to Queensland hospitals.

They say more medical refugees from PNG and the Torres Islands are seeking treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis, cholera, AIDS and leprosy in Queensland.

The Queensland and Federal governments decided to close health clinics in Queensland's north in mid-June despite the World Health Organisation listing the TB situation as a crisis.

A respiratory specialist in Cairns, Dr Graham Simpson, says they can't prevent the spread into Australia.

He says most drug-resistant TB in the state is imported and that it is part of a slow epidemic that is hard to stop.