The Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has thanked the World Bank for its commitment to strengthening healthcare in Papua New Guinea.

In particular, the Prime Minister said he appreciates the efforts of World Bank staff to step-up the fight against tuberculosis in affected areas.

The Prime Minister made the comments after meeting with Mr. Michael Kerf, World bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby this week.

“TB continues to be a challenge and while we having successes, there is the ongoing risk of spread and lack of understanding in potentially affected areas,” the Prime Minister said.

“The World Bank is dedicated to strengthening the fight against TB around the world, and has a clear commitment to this challenge in Papua New Guinea.

“In my meeting with executives from the World Bank Group in Port Moresby this week, we discussed a series of development projects, of which the most significant is a proposed TB program.

“The World Bank is interested in working with the National Government to build infrastructure in both combating and treating TB.

“This is inline with Government plans to establish isolation wards servicing Daru and Kerema.

“While we have already identified the demountable buildings for use on these sites, World Bank support will enhance this program.

“The World Bank is further interested in supporting the purchase of drugs, and education so that people know how to properly use their medication.

“As a further long-term effort, we are also interested in working with the World Bank to deploy equipment for laboratory testing and screening for TB.

“This would be further supported with technology to build state-of-the-art databases on infections, and to track changes to infection rates so that spreads can be dealt with.”

The Prime Minister said the World Bank is working with the Health Department and other partners to ensure there is no duplication, and TB eradication efforts are effectively focused.

The World Bank delegation who met with Prime Minister O’Neill were Mr. Michael Kerf, Country Director; Ms. Anne Tully, Country Program Coordinator; and Mr. Andrew Cooper, Senior Operations Officer.