In Papua New Guinea, a TB epidemic threatens to turn into a disaster that could destabilize the Asia Pacific region. Situated about 90 miles from Australia in the Pacific Ocean, the island nation sees more than 100 cases of TB every day.
Of these cases, five are drug-resistant strains, and 10 people will die, according to World Health Organization figures. Yet, in a nation where more than one-third of the population is illiterate, these figures grossly underestimate the actual number of TB cases due to underreporting. Additionally, 86% of the country’s 8 million citizens live in rural areas with little or no access to health care, further obscuring the numbers.
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