8 Jul 2013

Australia opens specialist TB ward in PNG's Western Province

7:25 pm on 8 July 2013

Australia's parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Matt Thistlethwaite, has today opened a new specialist facility to treat tuberculosis at Daru General Hospital in Papua New Guinea's Western Province.

The 22 bed ward comprises six rooms for isolation of airborne infections, as well as a 16 bed ward for patients recovering from TB.

The new ward is part of multi million US dollar commitment by Australia to support the detection and treatment of TB in Western Province.

Last year Canberra withdrew funding for Queensland Health to provided treatment for Papua New Guineans crossing the border to Australian clinics in Torres Strait, deeming treatment for TB within Western Province as more effective.

Other Australian help to the province includes providing specialist TB staff, training for community health workers and volunteer treatment supporters, medical equipment, drugs, a sea ambulance, and funding for laboratory diagnosis support in Queensland.