Burnet Institute was awarded pilot project funding in 2017 by HOT NORTH Improving Health Outcomes in the Tropical North: A Multidisciplinary Collaboration, for a project under the research theme of antimicrobial resistance. HOT NORTH’s integrated research agenda brings together biological, sociological, environmental and health service research expertise across tropical Australia and regional neighbours.
Enhanced screening and preventive therapy for TB in Daru, South Fly District, Papua New Guinea aims to address the outbreak of drug-resistant tuberculosis in a region of Papua New Guinea that sits on the Torres Strait. This pilot project aims to reduce transmission of tuberculosis through the implementation of a comprehensive model of active case finding, linkage to effective treatment, and the scale up of treatment for latent TB infection, for the household contacts of both drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB index cases. There are few operational models globally demonstrating how this can be done in low and middle-income countries and none in PNG.
The danger posed to Australia’s tropical north by drug-resistant TB is well recognised. The rapid control of the outbreak of drug-resistant TB in Daru is imperative to improve the health of individuals in this area, and strengthen health security in the region. This pilot project will not only provide an opportunity to improve health in the area, but also to develop regional collaboration and translate findings to regional treatment policies.