Dr Stenard Hiasihri, the head TB physician in Western Province
With support from the Australian Government and Burnet Institute, the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Western Province Provincial Health Office (PHO) has launched a new TB team to join the fight against tuberculosis (TB).
The 11 new staff will strengthen the current efforts to deliver comprehensive and quality care for all patients and their families with TB in Western Province.
Tuberculosis has been a long-standing challenge for PNG and remains a major health issue. In Western Province, the challenge is greater due to the transmission of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) strains, first identified in 2000.
In 2014 the Australian Government supported the recruitment of the head TB Physician to lead the response and Burnet to provide technical support.
Burnet is supporting the implementation of a patient-centred model of care and the strengthening of governance, infection control, supply of quality medicines, laboratory services and information systems.
“This impressive new provincial TB team will be at the forefront of PNG’s response to TB – supporting patients from cough to cure,” RID-TB Technical Director, Suman Majumdar, said.
“A team of this size and quality is needed to comprehensively address the DR-TB challenge. Our Burnet technical specialists are looking forward to working with the team.”
Acting Coordinator of Provincial Health Services, Mrs Alice Honjepari regards the fight against TB as the highest health priority for the Province.
“There is a strong and committed team, working in collaboration with the Burnet Institute and World Vision to improve the quality of patient treatment and care for both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB,” Mrs Honjepari said.
Dr Stenard Hiasihri, the head TB physician in Western Province, will lead the new-look provincial TB program.
“My vision is to deliver Western Province an effective TB program that enables patients to receive rapid diagnosis, effective treatment and quality care until cure, in a community based model,” Dr Hiasihri said.
With leadership from Dr Hiasihri and support from Burnet, many improvements are being made at Daru General Hospital and the new staff will continue this momentum.
“New infection control measures have been instituted to make the hospital safer and clinical care has been strengthened in partnership with the Burnet Institute team,” Dr Hiasihri said.
“The supplies of quality medications and laboratory services have been improved with the support of the Australian Government.”
“The new TB team provides the vital human resources for the Province to continue the response to TB.”