Members of the Australia-PNG Business Community, with support from the Australian Government and World Vision, yesterday launched the Businesses for Health: Tuberculosis or B4H:TB Project in Port Moresby.
Businesses 4Health: TB Project aims to engage the private sector to support the National Department of Health’s efforts to end the Tuberculosis (TB) epidemic and reduce the high rates of drug resistant TB, particularly in the National Capital District (NCD). Around 20 per cent (more than 6000 of the nearly 30,000) new TB infections in PNG were detected in NCD in 2015.
This project will develop technical assistance packages for workplace TB programs, conduct trainings for workplaces, coordinate joint commemorative events with business and government, mobilise workplaces for advocacy campaigns and joint commemorative events.
TB largely affects adults in their prime working years. For companies and their staff, TB causes worker absenteeism and a decline in productivity, raising direct and indirect costs related to medical expenses, recruitment, and training.
“Delays in diagnosis of TB results in distress to those who are sick and puts family and co-workers at greater risk of infection. When testing is early, diagnosis is accurate, treatment is as per national standard and adhered to TB can be cured. Hence, long periods of absence from work due to illness can be prevented,” Dr Ann Clarke, Project Manager of B4H:TB explained.
Dr Ann Clarke, is the former head of the PNG Business Coalition against HIV and AIDS (BAHA) and is the Project Manager for B4H which aims to support the private sector to engage in TB prevention similarly to its commitment to work place programs to combat HIV and AIDS.
B4H:TB will be offering TB workplace training courses to ensure all workplaces are able to use TB treatment pathways that maximise early detection, efficient testing and treatment adherence.
There is much that can be done to educate all workers in detecting and treating TB, and most importantly, in the use of existing free TB testing and treatment services offered in public TB clinics or basic management units.
Businesses for Health: Tuberculosis collaborates with the NCD Health Office to ensure its activities are aligned with the guidelines and procedures set by the National Department of Health and the World Health Organization.
During the launch, Businesses for Health: Tuberculosis announced its Facebook campaign called #coveryourcough, as a lead up activity to World TB Day on 24 March 2017. The campaign promotes coughing etiquette that reduces the spread of the airborne mycobacterium TB.
Instructions for the #coveryourcough campaign can be found at www.businesses4health.com or Facebook page @B4HTB.
For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0100
(L-R) Geoff Scahill (Abt Associates), William Willshere (Hastings Deering), Ann Clarke (Business for Health), Chey Scovell (PNG Manufacturers Council), David Toua (Steamships.