Doctors head up Fly River

National, Normal

The National – Monday, December 20, 2010

A TEAM of doctors from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) will assist health authorities in Western’s Middle Fly district.
The team, comprising two medical staff, a water and sanitation expert and a logistician, left Daru island last Saturday to travel up the Fly River to provide emergency care in areas that had received little or no cholera assistance to date.
“We are extremely concerned that people in the Middle Fly are not receiving the care they need,” MSF (PNG) head of mission, Hernan del Valle, said.
“The response in Daru itself has been good, but many remote, rural areas with bad infrastructure and weak communication systems are not able to respond to the outbreak or report the number of people affected by the disease,” he said.
He said the severity of the outbreak in that particular area was greater, confirming that it had spread into Gulf.
“Information coming from Middle Fly and neighbouring Gulf is limited due to poor communication so it remains a blind spot within the overall response,” he added.
Del Valle said that more than 300 deaths had been reported in the province alone, hence, urgent action was needed to prevent more deaths and contain the spread of the disease.
In partnership with the provincial cholera command centre, MSF would establish a treatment facility and oral rehydration points in the Middle Fly area.
Nearly 3,000 chorela cases had been recorded in Western since the outbreak started in October.