The National- Tuesday, January 11, 2011
By STEPHANIE ELIZAH
HEALTH authorities at the Bogia Health centre, Bogia district, Madang are currently treating 27 cholera patients while health workers at Usino-Bundi district, have reported two dead from a total of five people affected, Madang health acting director Paul Mabong said.
He said the situation in Bogia was under control after the Bogia district health manager immediately dispatched a team to Boroi village where most of the infected patients are from, to carry out surveillance, conduct awareness and treat people.
According to Mabong, this was the second major case of cholera reported in Bogia over a span of two months.
He said mid-last month, two teams on health patrol along the border of Bogia, Madang and East Sepik had contained and treated eight cholera cases among a total of 202 people treated for other cases including malaria.
“People at Sanai, Mangum, Wangan and Bosmun base camp at the border of Bogia and East Sepik were visited by our teams. Luckily, these villagers live near the Sepik River so it was easy to travel to the nearest health centre at Marianberg Health centre in East Sepik for treatment,” Mabong said.
At Usino-Bundi, however, there was difficulty accessing the affected areas.
“We are not able to immediately assist transporting a team to the area because of the mountainous location.
“We will need at least K25,000 for the hire of a helicopter and to send a team with drugs and medical equipment. Reports we received said cholera has affected mainly the people at Karamukei village,” he added.
He said they were seeking all avenues of funding to ensure immediate dispatch of a team to the area.
Mabong said the occurrence of cholera in the province was sporadic mainly in the remote areas which made it difficult and costly for health authorities.
“The high occurrence in the rural areas may be due to the increase in movement of the people during the festive period when many had to travel past cholera-affected areas into town.
“They may have contracted the disease during one of their stop-overs for food and water,” Mabong said.
He added that there has been a lot of awareness conducted on basic hygiene practices and how to prevent cholera from spreading, but people were neglecting to follow basic practices like washing hands.