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New PC3 Laboratory at CPHL

 CPHL opening

The National Department of Health (NDOH), while commemorating World TB Day on March 24th, opened PNG’s first PC3 (Physical Containment Level 3) Laboratory for drug sensitivity testing. This enables in-country detection of drug-resistant tuberculosis instead of outsourcing the same offshore. The new lab is part of the Central Public Health Laboratory at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

Currently PNG is facing the emergence of multi drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and more recently, extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) in Western Province and the National Capital District. Secretary of the National Department of Health, Pascoe Kase, said during the opening that the lab is crucial for PNG’s fight against TB. He said, early diagnosis of TB, especially drug-resistant TB, paves the way for timely TB treatment, hence avoiding transmission of the disease.

“This new laboratory will save costs and allow the Government to direct resources to the treatment and care of people diagnosed with primary and drug-resistant TB” he added. Dr Evelyn Lavu, Director of the Central Public Health Laboratory, said the establishment will enable the CPHL to provide effective testing that meets the strategic objectives of the National Health Plan 2011-2020, the National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Control in Papua New Guinea (PNG) 2015-2020 and the Global End TB Strategy. Strong partnerships between GoPNG, donor organisations, partners and the Supranational Reference Laboratory (SNRL) network will also continue.

The facility will also provide the framework for a National Reference Laboratory (NRL), reduce long-term operational costs, enhance collaboration, provide local employment and enhance local skills and collaboration.