Mass tuberculosis and leprosy screening in Marshalls

4:32 pm on 31 May 2018

Over 26,000 people in the Marshall Islands are to be targeted by a mass tuberculosis and leprosy screening programme which begins next week.

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Photo: 123rf

In 2013 the World Health Organisation reported the Marshalls had the second highest prevalence of TB in the world, 100 times higher than the US mainland.

It is also one of the few countries in the world still dealing with leprosy.

Our correspondent Giff Johnson said a new Ministry of Health screening programme which will run until September aims to cover the capital, Majuro, following a successful screening initiative on the island of Ebeye.

He said the biggest challenge once screening has been conducted will be getting people to complete their treatments.

"With both TB and leprosy, it's usually a minimum of six months of daily medication pills that you have to take and there's just issues. People move to other islands, they go to an outer island, they move to Ebeye, they move to Majuro, they move to the US. So there are challenges in it."

Giff Johnson said the WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control are helping the government efforts.