PORT MORESBY: NCD Governor Hon. Powes Parkop has put his hands up to take on another major National Challenge as chair of National TB Caucus.
The first multi-stakeholder alliance, bipartisan PNG TB caucus and its advocacy plan was launched last Thursday to amplify awareness and take actions ending Tuberculosis in NCD and entire PNG.
The launching event highlighted the need for such a caucus and the seriousness of the threat of TB in PNG.
Speaking in Parliament's State Function Room ahead of the launch of the first bipartisan PNG TB Caucus and TB Advocacy Plan, Governor Parkop emphasized that TB can be eliminated through treatment and preventive health measures.
The event was attended by TB stakeholders, including NCDC and NCD Governor's staff, the National Department of Health, the Australian Government via DFAT, and Hope World Wide PNG.
Preventive health measures encompass well-ventilated housing, a clean and healthy environment, nutritious meals, proper rubbish disposal, refraining from chewing betel nut, not spitting betelnut, and avoiding smoking, among other factors.
He urged everyone to reconsider these seemingly small actions that serve as breeding grounds for the spread of TB.
Bogia MP Hon. Robert Naguri is serving as the deputy chairman.
Putting the TB burden of PNG into context, Governor Parkop highlighted that Lae, Talasea, and all three districts in NCD are among the top five TB prevalent areas in the country.
He noted that PNG ranks among the 30 leading TB prevalent countries globally, with nearly 424 cases per 100,000, underscoring how TB predominantly affects vulnerable rural populations with limited access to quality TB services and care.
Governor Parkop added that the rate of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is rapidly increasing.
He called for a collective effort from all stakeholders, including strong political will, to eradicate TB in PNG.
Governor Parkop emphasized that TB was eliminated between the 1980s and 1990s but has resurfaced.
As an elected representative, he also highlighted other issues he advocates for, including climate change, environmental conservation and protection, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Equality and Empowerment, and addressing Human Rights abuses in West Papua and elsewhere.
Several Members of Parliament signed up to be part of the bipartisan caucus with the shared goal of supporting an end to TB in PNG.
The caucus and advocacy plan launch concluded with a celebratory toast and cake cutting.
The National End-TB campaign has been integrated into NCDC's vision for a Clean, Safe, Healthy, and Planned City to raise the campaign's prominence.