By WALLACE KIALA
THE World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday that cholera will be here to stay if more long-term and appropriate measures are not put in place to provide safe water and adequate sanitation in communities.
WHO representative in PNG Dr Eigil Sorensen said the main transmission route for cholera was contaminated water.
He urged authorities to do more in providing safe and clean water, in particular for the settlements in urban areas affected by cholera.
“This means piped water must be treated with chlorine for people living in urban areas, and I do not think we can stop cholera in these areas without more efforts being made in providing this to the settlements such as in Lae.”
He said more than four months into the cholera outbreak, active transmission of the epidemic was continuing in Morobe, Madang and East Sepik provinces with most of the affected areas lacking better hygiene and sanitation facilities.
“Many families have no toilets and sometimes latrines are placed so they contaminate the water used for drinking,” Dr Sorensen said.
For personal washing, the cleaning of clothes and cooking utensils, people often have no other choice but to go either to the polluted river or the unprotected open well or spring.
Dr Sorensen commended emergency activities implemented and coordinated by the Health Department, provincial task force groups, civil society and international organisations to limit the deaths and cholera spread.
“But reducing the outbreak does not necessarily control it on a permanent basis, and it is for this reason that cholera transmission is still occurring and even worse, why new areas regularly appear on the list of affected places,” he said.