Community leaders confirm their support for the South Fly Tuberculosis Control Program
“Our people will no longer have to travel to our neighbours in Australia for these services.”
That was the view of Sigiya Numa, the President of the Oriomo-Bituri local level government after he received an update on efforts to improve tuberculosis (TB) services in the South Fly District of PNG.
Mr Numa and 19 other community leaders from across the South Fly District in PNG met in early June in Daru to discuss progress of the TB program. TB Program coordinator Abel Marome and TB physician Dr Rendi Moke told participants how program activities were operating on the ground.
“Our leaders are important partners in the delivery of our TB program,” Mr Marome said. "There’s been a lot happening over the past month and today’s gathering was one of the regular meetings we have with community leaders to discuss ways of further strengthening the program.”
The community meetings are an important way for health information to be passed on to people living in rural areas.
“The health team educate us so that we can educate our people,” said Daru Town Mayor Jagara Pisa.
“We can also advise the health team what our people on the ground are saying and thinking. It’s a good way of ensuring people are getting correct information, and a good way to give the health team feedback about how their services are being received.”
AusAID has committed $8 million over four years, from 2012 to 2015, to strengthen the South Fly TB Program, which has resulted in additional staff, additional drugs, the construction of a temporary isolation ward, the launching of a new patrol boat—“Medics Queen”, and the installation of state-of-the art diagnostic equipment in the form of a digital x-ray machine and a GeneXpert TB analyser at Daru Hospital.
Mr Numa said patients used to travel to Saibai for tests and treatment.
“But now that we have this modern diagnostic equipment, more staff and the best drugs, we are quite comfortable that services can be provided here in the South Fly and our people will no longer have to travel to our neighbours in Australia for these services,” he said.
“With the support of AusAID, we now have very good people, the right drugs and the best machines here in the South Fly available to help us at any time.”
“We need to change our attitude towards health. It’s our business to use the resources we now have in the South Fly and take care of our own lives,” Mr Pisa said.