Photo: Lab technicians: Hela Provincial Hospital’s Frank Kasahya prepares a sputum slide for TB microscopy, as Mark Menze from OSF examines a slide for evidence of TB
More than 20 health workers will undergo specific TB training in October as part of continuing efforts by Oil Search Foundation (OSF) and its partners to reduce the spread of the disease in Hela Province.
The health workers will be given training on Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS), which will enable them to be at the frontline of the fight against TB in Hela. OSF has also purchased four microscopes for the TB program and will put them to use around the province following another training planned for November.
These trainings and other initiatives by OSF over the past two years are part of the commitment from many partners, including the Government of PNG, to fight TB. This partnership was further strengthened with the signing of a wide-ranging health services agreement between the Hela Provincial Health Authority (HPHA) and OSF this year.
OSF Deputy Director, Kymberley Kepore said the Foundation always works within existing government systems while continuously building on stakeholder relationships to enhance health service delivery.
“TB is a major threat throughout PNG and Hela is no exception. OSF will continue to work with our partners with the long term goal of stopping the spread of TB in the province,” says Ms Kepore.
A 2014 National TB Program (NTP) report showed that prior to 2016, the province’s response to TB was not achieving the desired impact. At the request of the HPHA, OSF initiated program-based support to improve TB service delivery at the hospital. OSF medical officers took a leading role, working with staff and aligning with the National Department of Health policies to improve referral pathways, diagnosis,
treatment and documentation of TB patients’ records.
Since the program started OSF has supported the recruitment of a TB nurse, diagnosed and helped two patients successfully complete the intensive phase of Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR TB), completed quarterly reports for TB for the years 2016 and early 2017; provided on-going in-service for staff, and increased TB awareness activities across the Province.
Acting HPHA Chief Executive Officer Dr James Kintwa was quick to praise the work of all stakeholders to improve the hospital’s response to TB.
“TB is a major threat and to see OSF partnering with the PHA to address this threat is a positive sign of strong working relationships needed to address the health challenges of Hela going forward.”