U.S. Embassy, Port Moresby: In response to the Government of Papua New Guinea’s (GoPNG) request for support to control the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic in PNG, the U.S. Embassy Port Moresby, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide targeted technical assistance to help detect and treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), including extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).
USAID will partner with Janssen Therapeutics to bring the first TB drug on the market in over 40 years to Papua New Guinea. The drug, called Bedaquiline, is used to treat patients suffering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis which is resistant to the two most effective anti-TB drugs available today.
USAID’s assistance to the GoPNG’s National TB Program will help control the spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis through rapid and systematic screening to get those in need on treatment faster and through strengthened treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant and drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Rapid and systematic screening to get those in need on treatment faster will be facilitated by the use of GeneXpert machines which detect and confirm drug-resistant tuberculosis in two hours instead of weeks. In addition to the machines, USAID will also provide technical assistance to launch the GeneXpert machines and assist the National TB program to rapidly test those at risk for contracting TB.
Strengthened treatment regimens for multi and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (M/XDR-TB) will include free access to Bedaquiline for 85 M/XDR-TB patients in Daru and the National Capital District. USAID will also fund training of health care providers on optimal implementation of MDR-TB treatment, and support the introduction of a quality assurance system for patient safety and program quality.
The drug donation program between USAID and Janssen Therapeutics forges a strategic public/private partnership to tackle one of the world’s most pressing public health challenges.
U.S. Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray said the United States Government is committed to assisting the Government of Papua New Guinea to address multidrug and extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Ambassador Ebert-Gray noted: “In order to prevent further resistance, it is essential that patients are accurately diagnosed, receive treatment with the appropriate medications, and are under close medical supervision throughout the duration of their treatment.”