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White and blue mural on the SWEEP-TB van.
The SWEEP-TB van mural in Daru.

Actively engaging youths in the battle against Tuberculosis (TB) not only equips them with crucial knowledge but also empowers them to take proactive measures in disease prevention from a young age.

This approach holds particular significance to Papua New Guinea (PNG), where TB remains a persistent and pressing health issue.

In a new initiative, Burnet Institute has partnered with five schools across Daru Island in PNG's Western Province.

These schools have participated in a competition aimed at designing murals with the theme of "Yes we can end TB," commemorating World TB Day 2023.

The fifteen winning designs have been immortalised on the Systematic Island-Wide Engagement and Elimination Project for TB (SWEEP-TB) screening truck.

SWEEP-TB, an ambitious project, collaborates closely with the Western Provincial Health Authority to conduct comprehensive screening, testing, and treatment for all residents of Daru.

Employing state-of-the-art technologies such as mobile digital X-ray, computer-aided detection, and molecular diagnostics, the project aims to address the high prevalence of TB in the region


Yanga Koiti standing next to the SWEEP TB van which reads 'Unite to end TB'
Yanga Koiti painted the designs on the SWEEP-TB van.

At the heart of the SWEEP-TB project lies community ownership, emphasising increased community education on TB and its preventive measures.

Mavis Namaibai, Burnet's community engagement and peer counsellor, underscores the importance of community engagement events.

"These events provide vital information for the community to make informed decisions about their health," she said.

Daru faces alarmingly high rates of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), making it imperative to target younger generations who are particularly susceptible to the disease.

The SWEEP-TB project complements Burnet's flagship initiative to reduce the impact of drug-resistant TB (RID-TB) across the Western Province, launched in 2023.

Incorporating prospective implementation research within its framework, the SWEEP-TB project aims to evaluate the impact of age-related TB incidence, monitor uptake and acceptability of interventions, and develop a scalable model of care.

Since its inception, SWEEP-TB has made significant strides, enrolling over 4,200 participants in the study. Of these, 3,900 have undergone screening, and 326 have commenced TB preventive therapy.

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Community participation critical to SWEEP-TB out of Daru
24 Mar 2023 News Post Arrow Icon