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Papua New Guinea

Sophie McNamara/MSF

Tuberculosis (TB), the second-highest cause of mortality in Papua New Guinea, remained a key challenge for the country’s health services and the focus for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 2018.

Key medical figures:

  • 16,500 outpatient consultations
  • 1,720 people started on treatment for TB, including 62 for MDR-TB

In collaboration with the national TB programme, we are working to improve screening, diagnosis, treatment initiation and follow-up at Gerehu hospital in Port Moresby, the capital, and in the city of Kerema in Gulf province.

In 2018, our priority was to improve patient care, adherence to treatment and treatment success. With this in mind, we started discussions with the Ministry of Health on the implementation of the World Health Organization’s new treatment recommendations.

The team in Port Moresby worked on patient follow-up and outreach activities to encourage, facilitate and improve adherence to treatment. Our patient numbers increased over the course of the year, suggesting growing acceptance of MSF, while at the same time revealing the lack of screening and diagnosis services in the capital.

We also scaled up our mobile activities, running clinics in remote areas in the Gulf province and providing better access to diagnosis and treatment for patients previously excluded from these services for geographical, economic or cultural reasons. The decentralised model of care means that patients do not need to come to a medical facility so frequently. We also introduced improvements in quality of care, with the integration of HIV testing, greater emphasis on counselling and closer monitoring of patients, their treatments and any side effects.