180 patients at cholera care centre

National, Normal


THE number of people seeking treatment at a care centre in Angoram, East Sepik province, with suspected cholera has risen to 180.
Authorities in Wewak said as of Monday, there were 180 admissions which meant there were 33 new admissions since last Wednesday.
They said there were now 15 in-patients at the care centre, while 18 others were treated and discharged.
All had samples taken for testing.
Meanwhile, no new deaths were reported, apart from the five reported last Nov 3.
The authorities said the first makeshift cholera care centre at Kambaramba village in Angoram needed clean water, mosquito nets and food for its in-patients.
A visit there last Wednesday by this journalist revealed that in-patients were sleeping on bare classroom desktops with no mattresses or mats and pillows, thus being exposed to mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects.
Sago and coconut palm leaves form the walls of the care centre, which was built under the only permanent building there at the closed down Kambaramba primary school.
Three bush material pit toilets were built some 15 metres away and have been receiving regular spraying by the disease control team there.     
The sole community health worker (CHW)  Bob Koki, said he had been collecting rain water to mix with powder medicine to treat severely dehydrated cholera patients.
There has been no rain lately and Mr Koki has been making use of the water from the Sepik River.
The water has been found to be contaminated.
Health extension officer Geoffrey Kaitap from the Angoram district hospital has been paying daily visits there, equipped with cholera pre-test kits and medicine.
He agreed that there was an urgent need for water tanks, water containers, mosquito nets, food and other basic materials for the good of the in-patients at the care centre.
Mr Kaitap believed the cholera had now been contained in the Kambaramba No 1-6 villages.
“We have conducted extensive awareness campaign in the beginning so now people know about the symptoms … they are coming and reporting to the centre upon first signs, yes, I think we’re containing it here.”
It is believed that it was introduced in the area from a family that arrived there from Madang last Nov 2.