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PAPUA NEW GUINEA/ 2019/Arduous and lengthy treatment of tuberculosis


The treatment of tuberculosis (TB) remains cumbersome: a handful of tablets every day for anywhere between 6 months for DS (drug sensitive) and 18-24 months for DR (drug resistant) TB patients. Even though most patients feel better quite soon after the start of the treatment, they have to complete it. Adherence to the full treatment is crucial to completely clear the bacteria from a patients’ body. Drug-sensitive tuberculosis will return in a drug resistant form if the treatment is discontinued prematurely.

It is hence crucial that patients are continuously provided with medication and take their medication regularly. However, access to health care is difficult in a country like PNG. Its vast size and lack of transportation infrastructure and service availability make it hard for patients to reach a health centre or clinic to receive their daily dose, or for community health workers to reach their patients on a daily or weekly basis. In certain cases, volunteers will visit patients at home and ensure they take the medication.

MSF runs two projects in PNG, both on Tuberculosis. One is located in the capital of Port Moresby and the other one in a more rural setting in the Gulf Province, around Kerema.
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