ChildFund Australia – which has launched a report on the TB epidemic and its devastating impact on children – has been working in Papua New Guinea for the past 20 years, stepping up efforts to reduce the spread of TB since 2013.
“Tuberculosis is an entirely preventable and curable disease,” says ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence. “It is absolutely critical that health workers in rural areas have the right tools and knowledge to prevent and treat the disease, and to raise awareness about the importance of early medical intervention.”
ChildFund is among several organisations playing a critical role in training and equipping health workers to detect TB early and ensure patients complete their full course of treatment.
“Three years ago, ChildFund selected me to attend a TB workshop. I accepted because, at that time, nobody was trained on TB at my clinic,” Celestine recalls. “After the training, I completely changed my negative thoughts about TB and wanted to help.”
Tragically, the first patient she treated after her training died from the disease. But for Celestine, his death only highlighted the importance of the new work she was undertaking.
“I could not help but think about his family and his community, and how many of them are out there and not treated until it’s too late. I did not want to witness another death and from that day worked hard to monitor my patients and quickly get them tested.”