OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Cases of multidrug resistant tuberculosis increase and there is little accessibility to healthcare

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Port Moresby (Agenzia Fides) - 85% of the population in Papua New Guinea lives in rural areas where access to health services is very precarious and it is equally difficult to reach hospitals. There is a doctor and five nurses for every 10 thousand people, and cases of multidrug resistant tuberculosis increase.
On the Island healthcare covers only 19% of the population and less than half have access to safe water, TB is the leading cause of hospital deaths. According to official sources, while around the world since 1990, the death rate caused by tuberculosis has decreased by 45%, in Papua New Guinea over the past 5 years, the new cases reported each year has risen from 16 000 to 30 000. Currently the main obstacle is cultural. The specialists of the Faculty of local Medicine argue that during incubation patients turn immediately to sorcerers and local remedies and arrive late in health centers when the disease is in an advanced stage. In the rural villages of the district of Kikori, the southern province of the Gulf, the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has diagnosed since last year about 50 new cases per month, including also 10-month-old patients. Young people represent up to 28% of cases in the country. TB can infect one or all parts of the human body. Papua New Guinea is the most inhabited Country of the island States of the Pacific Ocean, with 7 million people. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 31/03/2015)