Businesses for Health: TB & HIV Project on World TB Day in PNG 2024

By: PNG Business News March 21, 2024

In 2024, tuberculosis (TB) persists as Papua New Guinea's leading cause of death from an infectious disease, said Ann M. Clarke of Businesses for Health (B4H): TB and HIV Project.

"This year we observe World TB Day (on Sunday, 24 March) with a renewed sense of urgency and appeal to the private sector for your on-going support," Clarke said in a statement.

Since its establishment in 2017, the  B4H: TB and HIV Project has made significant steps in mitigating the impact of TB through workplace education efforts aimed at preserving lives, maintaining employment, and reducing absenteeism due to TB, she noted.

These successes were achieved despite the increasing burden of TB on PNG’s economy and the nation's lack of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals of reducing the number of TB deaths and decreasing the annual incidence rates compared to 2015 levels, Clarke added.

"This year we expect another 5,000 TB deaths, and at least 40,000 more people who will be sick with TB.  This highlights a significant gap between our ambitions and the reality on the ground," she said,

PNG’s continued ranking as a “high burden” TB country "needs to be seen as shocking.  It is our duty to call for more action from government at all levels, and all foreign donors to transform ambitious targets into tangible outcomes," Clarke said.

But this year,  B4H celebrates the ongoing support from many firms in PNG’s "can-do" private sector, noting that with their help, the group has led better awareness campaigns, and saved lives and jobs despite the setbacks caused by COVID and nationwide social and economic problems.

On March 20, dedicated to the battle against TB,  B4H asked all businesses in PNG that are not yet part of its campaign for three things:

  1. Invest in its workplace TB training and learn to implement a health seeking culture and comprehensive TB management programs within their business. Learn to include screening, early case finding, better access to treatment, and the delivery year-round educational campaigns about TB prevention. Persistent commitment will significantly reduce the disease's impact on productivity and grow a healthier workforce, the group said.
  2. Partner with  B4H to amplify efforts in ending TB. "Your support, whether financial, in-kind, or through expertise sharing, is vital for enhancing access to TB information, services and improving cure rates," Clarke said.
  3. "Leverage your influence to advocate for improved healthcare policies and infrastructure.  Encourage government actions that address the root causes of TB, including poverty, inadequate housing, and lack of education, to create a sustainable impact," she added.

TB Day "is only the start of our renewed commitment" to end tuberculosis, Clarke said.

"Over the course of this year, we will release regular updates to our TB learning resources. This year our focus is on maintaining conversations about TB through radio, theatre and storytelling," she added.

The group's new series of TB-themed short stories are free to be shared by toolbox leaders, mums and dads, teachers or children, Clarke said, noting they are based on real success stories with real people they have helped.

"Each story comes with discussion points and Q and A for young or older listeners.  Keep up to date with our TB theatre events on the  and the first short story is already up on our @B4HTB Facebook and LinkedIn pages," she said.

"The challenge ahead is formidable, but not insurmountable. With persistent, uncompromising calls for accountability, and with the collective action of the private sector, we can help to reduce, and ultimately eradicate, TB in PNG," Clarke said.

"This World TB Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to a healthier, more productive workforce and a TB-free PNG. #YesWeCanEndTB. Thank you to all those who support B4H. And as always, #coveryourcough," she said.

Related Articles

Recent Articles

See Our Latest Issue

See Our Latest Issue

See Our Latest Issue

See Our Latest Issue