Malaria cases drop in Bougainville
The number of malaria cases in Bougainville has reduced over five years according to the Secretary of the Department of Health (DoH) Clement Totavun.
Mr Totavun said that the recorded cases of patients diagnosed with malaria used to be 92 patients per 1000 population and that figure has reduced to 6 reported cases per 1000.
Mr Totavun also revealed that Tuberculosis (TB) cases have dropped in the hospitals and the patients are doing better now.
He said that from the total number of patients getting TB treatment, 85% of the patients have been treated and are doing better based on the records for 2022.
He said that there are real challenges faced by the nursing officers and doctors and general staff of the hospitals because 40 employees have retired in the last two years and they have no replacement.
There was a request made to the Department of Personal Management (DPM) for new recruitment but it was not approved for further action.
This has placed a burden on the number of staff serving at the health centers around the region, he said.
Mr Totavun added that there are two officers attending to 1000 patients per centers in Bougainville and that there are complaints received from the patients on the slow service but the Department can not address the situation because it is not allowed to recruit new officers.
He said that the department’s health response team has played a very important role in visiting remote areas and this has resulted in the team out sourcing funding support from external sources to fund medicines for the immunization programme.
This has resulted in the increase of the immunization coverage of children on which 76% of the required population has been immunized in 2022. This was a big leap from only 32% of immunized population back in 2017, he said.
Mr Totavun also reminded the work force that COVID-19 was still present in the region and that all needed to take extra precautions and abide to the social distancing rules.
He said it was important that people went to the hospital to get checked and tested and treated and stay home when they had the influenza like illnesses.
He added that help was provided at the hospital and that the services were provided to patients having the illness.
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