© Yann Libessart/MSF

Papua New Guinea

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.

With some 836 dialects spoken, around 12 percent of all the world’s languages can be found in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

North of Australia, the country of more than 6.5 million people is located on the eastern end of the world's second largest island.

Despite its idyllic setting, PNG has some of the worst rates of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in the world. It also has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific region.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) first worked in PNG in 1992. The country is prone to tidal waves, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, to which we have responded, as well as the high rates of tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS and sexual violence.

MSF’s work in Papua New Guinea: 2018

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 rates. With this in mind, we started discussions with the Ministry of Health on the implementation of the World Health Organization’s new treatment recommendations.

© Jodi Bieber

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 diagnostic services in the capital. 

We also scaled up our mobile activities, running clinics in remote areas in 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.

find out more in our international activity report >


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