Image: Course participants and facilitators celebrate the conclusion of stages one and two
A specialised training course led by Burnet Institute is helping to develop the capacity of health workers and institutions in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to conduct tuberculosis (TB) operational research to strengthen the national response to the disease.
Twelve participants working in the TB field from seven provinces in PNG recently completed the first and second stages of the course aimed at building capacity through structured training, mentorship and jointly conducted research.
The participants have had their research protocols approved by PNG Medical Research Advisory Committee and are now engaged in data collection, validation and analysis before reconvening in mid-2018 to write their research papers.
Based in Daru, the capital of Western Province, the course is being run in collaboration with The National Department of Health (NDoH) Emergency Response Taskforce for MDR and XDR-TB, National TB Program and Western Provincial Health Office.
Senior Principal Research Fellow Professor Steve Graham, Dr Suman Majumdar, Geoff Chan, Dr Lucia Gonzalez, Stephanie Main and Liz Comrie-Thomson represented Burnet on stages one and/or two of the course, alongside facilitators from NDoH, PNG Institute of Medical Research and The University of PNG.
“I was delighted by the enthusiasm and capabilities of all the participants, and by the range and quality of their TB-related research proposals now being undertaken in seven different provinces in PNG,” Professor Graham said.
“We, the facilitators, are very much looking forward to the third and final week of training in 2018 to support final analysis and dissemination of their findings.”
Tuberculosis remains a major public health threat, killing more people in PNG than any other infectious disease, and the problem is compounded by high levels of drug-resistant TB in hotspot areas like Daru.
Since 2014, Burnet has been working with a range of partners in Western Province through the RID-TB project in response to this outbreak.
In October 2016 a $2m grant was awarded to a consortium led by Menzies School of Health Research in collaboration with Burnet to build and strengthen research collaboration in the prevention, detection and treatment of multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis and malaria in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and PNG.
Funded by the Australian Government through DFAT and the consortium, The Operational Research Course for Tuberculosis in PNG was conceived to strengthen capacity in TB-related research in a range of settings, including Daru.
Find out more about Burnet’s Health Security program.