Blame EU for spread of cholera, says Zibe

Lae News, Normal


HEALTH Minister Sasa Zibe has singled out the European Union’s water programme in Morobe province as partly to blame for the spread of cholera which has spread to neighbouring Madang province.
This had come about because the European Union (EU) was working with foreign-aligned “non-state actors” to implement its multi-million kina projects, Mr Zibe, who is the Huon Gulf MP, said in a statement yesterday.
He called the EU to join the Health Department in working on its water development plans.
“The European Union does not have a development plan to guide development and resource allocation in Papua New Guinea.
“It is crucial that a development plan is designed in consultation with the Health Department to provide the guiding frameworks for all sectors in the rural areas,” he said.
Mr Zibe blamed the rural water and sanitation programme, which was carried out by the EU, as a contributing factor to the country’s water-borne diseases like cholera.
“Instead of building an alliance with the established government delivery systems, the European Union programme is currently involved in a handful of non-state actors, which consisted of non-governmental organisations and faith and community-based organisations, to implement these multi-million kina water projects,” he said.
Mr Zibe said that many of these organisations were foreign-owned and managed by expensive foreign consultants.
“Many do not involve the Health Department in their planning and implementation of water and sanitation programmes.
“It would have been better if the Government system is also included in the European Union’s programme because the Government had the capacity in all districts and provinces which could be utilised to complement each other,” he said.
Mr Zibe said he had already raised the matter with the EU officials in Port Moresby and would be trying to work closely with them to reach the maximum number of communities in the country.
“I will also raise the matter when I meet with the Planning Minister as well as the Prime Minister because water is a crucial commodity in Papua New Guinea,” he said.
The EU office in Port Moresby could not be contacted for comments yesterday.