Angau hospital reports 22 deaths from cholera

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THE quarantine centre at Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae has reported a total of 22 deaths from cholera.
The figure includes the casualties from Morobe province’s outbreak areas of Wasu in Tewai-Siassi and Lae districts, and Goroka in Eastern Highlands province.
These figures were presented in the provincial outbreak task force meeting that was held yesterday at the provincial malaria office.
It was also revealed by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staff during the meeting that West Taraka is fast becoming a “hotspot”.
Angau chief executive officer Dr Polapoi Chalau was not present at the meeting.
However, officials from Angau said that 10 cases were reported to the centre, with one being admitted.
Four people were also believed to have died from cholera in West Taraka alone.
Dr Chalau was in Port Moresby and could not be reached for comment.
A team of medical staff has been sent to the West Taraka communities living up and along the Bumbu River to investigate further.
MSF staff also suggested spraying chlorine in the households of those who have been affected. This will prevent further cases.
This will be done once the addresses of confirmed cases are received.
However, officials said proper awareness must be carried out before this could be done to avoid any panic and stigma among the communities.
They also commended the PNG Waterboard for the good work carried out in adding more chlorine to the water system.
The meeting also revealed that there were still inconsistencies with transport vehicles to attend to cholera cases.
Dr Victor Golpak, head of the outbreak management team, said even though transport had been promised for cholera cases, it had not been very effective.
He said two ambulances would be sent from Port Moresby soon for use on cholera cases alone.