The National- Friday, February 4, 2011
By KARI TOTONA
THERE is a pattern that can be seen to identify the high risk areas of cholera in PNG.
This was what the Health secretary, Dr Clement Malau said when responding to The National’s report on Wednesday between ABC Radio Australia’s presenter Bruce Hill and Australian Red Cross nurse and aid worker Libby Bowell.
He said: “Cholera is mostly found in areas that are either overcrowded and have no proper sanitation and poor water supply.”
The report said that Western had serious cases where 4,000 cases was reported at the clinics and 400 reported death cases which illustrated a need for more awareness on hygiene and care.
Bowell said the government needed to look at its health sector and support its rural based health workers and clinics such as the PNG Red Cross and others who were helping on the ground.
Malau said the situation in Western had deteriorated simply because the system around them had failed them.
“We (health department) have always been blamed for not doing our job but what more can we do when only 2% is added each year for the health sectors budget of K14.17 billion for 2011-20,” he said.
Malau said that he was aware of the concern by international bodies and could only hope for a change in people’s attitude and change their way of living standards to minimise the number of people getting cholera.
“They are not the only ones affected, we have the coastal villages of Mailu in Central and the coral islands of the Trobriands where there is concern on their water being easily contaminated,” he said.