In Fiji:

April 15, 2024, 9:12 am

Surge in child cases as calls for enhanced efforts to tackle TB crisis in PNG

Georgina Ledua
Digital Media Specialist | [email protected]
Story By:

Badili TB clinic staff and community treatment supporters.

In Papua New Guinea, over 7000 children are impacted by tuberculosis.

The country had witnessed a surpassing 40,000 with children accounting 26 percent of the cases, which is much higher than the global average of 10 percent.

The Paediatric Society of Papua New Guinea has renewed calls to end childhood tuberculosis which impacts thousands of young lives in light of world health day.

Detecting tuberculosis in children is particularly challenging due to vague symptoms, but efforts are underway to bolster diagnosis and treatment; The society have said that the surge in cases is attributed to various factors including delayed treatment, under-equipped health centers, and staffing shortages, exacerbated by community transmission.

The society has also noted that the country is prioritizing the provision of the latest treatment and child-friendly medications to children ensure their well-being.

Paediatrician Dr Gordon Pukai urges families to be vigilant for symptoms such as a prolonged cough, fevers, night sweats, weight loss, and chronic illness.

Pukai encourages affected ones to complete the full course of medicine provided, saying,

“TB is curable, and the treatment is free,” he said.

“It’s crucial to ensure that children receive all doses of immunization to protect them from preventable diseases and promote overall health”

To further address the crisis, the Paediatric Society launched the Child TB-HIV Project, aimed at improving testing and detection of child TB cases.

Efforts are underway to include further upskilling healthcare workers, implementing advanced testing methods, and improving testing and detection of child TB.

Additionally, groundbreaking progress has been made with the introduction of child-friendly TB medicine, a significant achievement not only for Papua New Guinea but also on a global scale.

The ‘Child TB-HIV Project’ is funded by the PNG Australian Partnership in collaboration with the National TB Program, National Department of Health, Port Moresby General Hospital, and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.