THE march of tuberculosis in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea is continuing with a senior local leader now being diagnosed with a drug-resistant form of the disease.
PNG contacts recently told Federal MP Warren Entsch that Mr Sisa Kimia, the Chairman of the Treaty Village Association from Daru Island, had been admitted to hospital and was seriously ill.
Mr Kimia, who is also the PNG Treaty Inhabitants Chairman under the Torres Strait Treaty between Australian and PNG for the Western Province, was one of a delegation of Treaty Village leaders who came to Cairns in October for a regional health meeting.
Speaking to representatives from AusAID, the Department of Health and Aging, Queensland Health, PNG’s National Department for Health and the Western Province Health Administration, Mr Kimia made the case for more local involvement in the provision of TB treatment.
“I’m very concerned that we have a situation where a high-profile person from the region has been struck down with this disease,” Mr Entsch said.
“If Sisa Kimia can get TB, anyone can. He lives in a house, not a slum, and is an educated regional leader. This raises very serious questions about the extent of the TB outbreak and the information we – here in the north – are receiving.
“In spite of repeated pleas from myself, the Treaty Village Association and the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, this government has continued to ignore the fact that the South Fly people must be involved if there is to be a successful long-term TB strategy.
“Again, it gives me no confidence in the advice being provided by AusAID officials to the Australian Government – I condemn, and hold them accountable, for their lack of action.”
Violet ill with TB in 2008/09
Mr Entsch has also been keeping in touch with the family of Violet Ausi, the young girl who spent two and a half years in Cairns Hospital being treated for MDRTB.
“I’m extremely worried about Violet still living on Daru – she had a relapse late last year where she ended up in that disgusting hospital again,” he said.
“I’m trying to find a sponsor for her so she can return to Cairns for additional treatment, and I’m happy to pay for the flights. We’ve already invested two and a half years’ treatment in this girl’s life and we can’t let that go to waste.”
A happy and well Violet in 2012.