Photo: TB DOTs (directly observed treatment) certified health workers, treatment supporters and their facilitators posing with their certificates after the training.
The Oil Search Foundation continues to support more training and upskilling of health workers to help manage the threat of tuberculosis (TB) in PNG.
Twenty-one nurses and community health workers were recently certified as TB health workers, following a week-long training in the Kikori district.
The Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) training was facilitated by the National Department of Health (NDoH) with logistical support funded by the Oil Search Foundation and Gulf Christian Health Services.
It involved health workers from facilities within Kikori district and included a day’s training for 17 village volunteers as treatment supporters. Facilitators from World Vision and the Central Public Health Laboratory helped the National Health department train participants in TB case management and treatment, reporting and recording data.
“Combatting the threat of TB needs ongoing
partnership and commitment from all stakeholders if we want to lessen the burden of the disease,” said Oil Search Foundation’s Public Health Officer, Clement Kumaru.
TB is a major concern in the Gulf province. Kikori district records some of the highest numbers of TB cases in the country. With DOT) patients are closely monitored at their local health facility.
Village treatment supporters make sure that a TB patient is correctly taking their medication every day until they finish their full treatment. They are very important in many PNG villages where access to a health post or health worker can sometimes be very far.
Dr Robin Yasi from the National TB program told Village Health Workers, “Your attendance as TB treatment supporters shows how serious you are in helping stop the spread of TB. With your help and dedication we will see real progress in controlling the disease. You should be very
proud of the direct and important role you are playing to support your communities.” Kikori district village volunteer treatment supporter Mike Junior thanked the partners for making the training possible. “Sik TB em bikpela hevi lo komuniti. Bikos lo dispela mipela kam na kisim skul we bai mipla ken mekim bai sik TB noken kamap bikpla.” (TB has become a burden in our communities. That’s why we have made a commitment to be TB village treatment supporters so we can help stop the spread of TB).
Gulf Provincial Health Advisor, Mr. Ben Bal was overwhelmed by the commitment of participants and thanked Oil Search Foundation for its continuous support as a development partner.
The training is a mile stone in Gulf Provinces’ response to the threat of TB and provides an example to others in Papua New Guinea on how individuals can make a real difference within their communities.