Bleak health picture

Normal, Papua


THE North Fly district in Western province is among those with the poorest health indicators in the country.
The medical symposium last week was told that the district, situated on the fringes of Ok Tedi, was among the five poorest performing districts in PNG in the immunisation programme.
No specific figures were given.
A report said tuberculosis was on the rise in the district, and so was incidences of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted and heart diseases.
“About 100 HIV positive patients have been identified in the district and it is likely that there are a significant numbers living with the virus and undetected,” the report added.
Malaria deaths were also high.
Adding to the bleak picture, the report said nearly half of the clinics in the district (about 20 out of 48 aid posts), were closed.
The birth rate in Western province is high at 3.4 but 30% of women in North Fly district do not receive antenatal care.
But efforts were being made since January to alleviate some of these health problems with the help of the Ok Tedi Mining Limited.
The North Fly health services development programme was approved by the OTML which  pledged K20 million over five years.
The district administration is also working in partnership with Catholic services, Evangelical church of PNG, Fly River provincial government and OTML to address key health issues.