The National – Wednesday, February 16, 2011
CHOLERA has claimed a total of 483 lives while affecting10,066 Papua New Guineans since the first outbreak in 2009.
This was revealed yesterday by health secretary Dr Clement Malau when giving the cholera situational update for the month.
Malau said the department’s surveillance unit, which was monitoring the outbreak, released the statistics from its line-listing data bank.
Malau said cholera was associated with poor water and sanitation conditions and could easily spread in places like settlements and communities where there was overcrowding of people, services like water supply and proper toilets were not there, and basic hygiene practices like hand washing were neglected.
He warned seven provinces affected by cholera to maintain stringent surveillance measures as the disease could surface whenever there was an opportunity.
Malau issued the warning yesterday saying that complacency in the routine activities of monitoring and educating people on preventive aspects could allow cholera to hit again.
“I appeal again to local authorities at the district and provincial levels to respond effectively to the cholera outbreaks in their provinces.
“The other provinces by now should have a defined cholera outbreak response plan and coordinating structure in place as the threat is right at our doorstep,” said Malau.
He said it was encouraging to note that the affected provinces had responded well through a coordinated approach.
“I am urging the provinces to sustain the response momentum and widen surveillance and awareness activities.”
Secretary Malau also acknowledged the support from development partners and international and national non-governmental organisations in coordinating specific activities in the response efforts.
The seven cholera affected provinces are Central, leading, with 2,698 listed cases with 32 deaths, Madang 1,819 cases with 40 deaths, National Capital District 1,774 with five deaths, Western 1,747 with more than 300 deaths, East Sepik 877 cases with 28 deaths, Morobe 831 with 31 deaths, and Gulf 320 cases with 8 deaths.