ONE Papua New Guinean dies from tuberculosis every two hours, according to a fact sheet provided by World Vision.
And it says that every year, 16,000 new cases of the disease are detected. It includes 2,900 people also infected with HIV.
The statistics were provided during a panel discussion organised by the national TB programme.
Programme manager Dr Paul Aia said tuberculosis had become a social welfare problem in the country which needed a collective effort to fight it to bring it under control.
Aia said about 20,000 cases were recorded in the country in the last quarter.
He said the figures were from cases reported at health facilities around the country. But it could be more than what was reported.
“We need everybody to come onboard to stop the transmission,” Aia said during a panel discussion on the programme with the media on Tuesday.
TB is an airborne disease caused by a germ and is contagious. It is spread from a sick person to other people through coughing, sneezing or spitting.
The TB germ is passed from one person to another on tiny droplets of moisture through:
qCoughing without covering the mouth;
qSneezing without covering the mouth; and
Health authorities have advised that anyone who has the symptoms, or know of others in their families and communities with those symptoms, should go to the nearest health facility to get their sputum checked right away.
Patients who are tested positive are put on treatment (anti-TB drugs) for six months. Patients will take three to four tablets everyday for six months until they are cured.
Aia and other health workers who spoke to the media during site visits to two clinics in the National Capital District said drug adherence was important as it helped to cure patients and stopped the spread of multi-drug resistant TB.