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Following a successful AITHM Capacity Building Grant, lead researcher Associate Professor Usman Malabu leveraged his initial results and secured a further US$228K from the World Diabetes Foundation to train health care providers in PNG to diagnose and treat diabetes and TB with the help of mobile phones.

Both TB and diabetes are often silent killers, and it’s important to address both diseases in tandem as you are three to four times more likely to develop TB in its severest form if you already have diabetes. PNG has one of the highest prevalence of TB in the world, with figures suggesting in some provinces it’s more than 500 cases per 100,000 people per year.

People may not know they have the disease and once complications occur it may be too late to access treatment. Using mobile technology, this project will train local health care professionals to screen and identify which patients need close care.

After medications are prescribed the mobile app will remind the patients to take their recommended doses, what to do if they miss a dose, and when to attend follow up clinic appointments. AITHM’s focus on managing TB amongst Australia’s closest neighbours is part of its contribution to support better healthcare for people in the Tropics as well as reducing the spread of the disease.