APNGBC NEWS : 27th Jun 2016

Opportunity to Engage with Managing TB in Workplaces in Papua New Guinea

Whilst there has been a lot of talk around TB this is the opportunity to obtain tangible results out of the discussions. There are many options for business to engage in the fight against TB. This includes tool kits that inform TB workplace policy, management training, staff training as well as how businesses can engage in supporting the work of their Health facilities.

— By APNGBC

Members will be aware that over the last two years the Council has been working with the Australian aid program at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby through the Business for Development Roundtable on three priority areas: Aid for Trade, TVET and TB.

The Council has committed that for its part it will work with governments including through the Australian aid program to assist management of TB, and will encourage Australian business to do the same.

PNG ranks second in the Western Pacific Region, next to Cambodia, in terms of estimated TB prevalence, incidence and mortality (30,000 new cases registered every year). Among all 22 Provinces of PNG the National Capital District has been identified as the Hot Spot which contributes 25% of the country’s TB burden, despite being home to only 5% of the country’s population. While the majority of the PNG population lives in rural areas, the urban areas bear the higher burden of TB. High TB transmission (approximately 70%) is happening in urban over-crowded communities, with a notable increase in the last 5 years. A high proportion of the infectious patients are the young economical productive age group from 15 to 35 years old, who are also very mobile. About 28% of the TB cases are children which indicate that there is high transmission in the households. In recent years this situation has been compounded by the emergence of MDR and XDR TB which triggered the NDoH and its Partners to an Emergency Response in a number of provinces, including the National Capital District.

In light of this situation DFAT provided funding to appoint a Private Sector TB Advisor (short term) – Mr Curt Von Boguslawski, to assess potential models and avenues to engage the Private Sector in the fight against TB. This includes global best practice and past or present initiatives in PNG. The aim is to recommend a possible way forward. 

Curt recently presented at the 32nd Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum in Cairns in the workshop entitled “Managing Workplace and Community Health Issues.” You can view Curt's latest presentation summary on the Partnership to End TB & HIV here.

The Papua New Guinea Department of Health through the National TB Program is trying to address TB by rolling out Direct Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) programs around the country and has recently focused its efforts on 30 high burden Basic Management Units (BMUs) for TB control. More than half of these BMU's are located where businesses are operating, including in Port Moresby, Lae, Wewak, Goroka and Mt Hagen.

There are many options for business to engage in the fight against TB. This includes tool kits that inform TB workplace policy, management training, staff training as well as how businesses can engage in supporting the work of their Health facilities.

We invite members interested in discussing this program further to contact Geoff Scahill (AbtJTA). 

The partnership is currently working on an Aide Memoire for the program and this will be distributed to members once it is finalised. 

 

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