By ALISON ANIS
HEALTH secretary Dr Clement Malau said he felt “let down” by the Government for not responding effectively and promptly to the country’s first cholera outbreak.
Dr Malau said this during a press conference held on Monday to highlight PNG’s key health issues.
He said communities affected by cholera were also let down by the Government’s slow response due to current service delivery mechanisms which delayed releasing funds on time to help contain the spread of the outbreak.
“The biggest impediment in responding properly to health emergencies such as cholera are the lack of systematic approach within governing systems and collective support in addressing the disease,” he said.
“Yes, I feel let down by the system and the processes to follow especially when we are trying our best to get services down to the people during health emergencies,” Dr Malau said.
“But that’s the way the system is and I can’t change the system myself to work for the benefit of the people because cholera is an issue that needs to be addressed collectively by Government bureaucrats.”
He announced that so far, the Health Department had received K3million of the proposed K11 million to fight the epidemic in affected areas.
He said cholera was not budgeted for and the department was working with the Treasury on budget plans.
He called for support from all Government agents, adding that the lack of cooperation had been the biggest impediment in dealing with the outbreak.
“We have given, out of our own savings, K50,000 to affected areas,” he said.
Dr Malau was also concerned about the delay in getting aid to the affected areas while the outbreak was spreading at an alarming rate.
However, he was optimistic the current reform on the national health plan would look at addressing the problem of having reliable service delivery mechanisms to respond effectively and on time during such emergencies.
Dr Malau gave no further updates on cholera, but confirmed that the epidemic has spread to Sandaun province while the condition in Madang and Morobe provinces has been stabilised with existing threats of the new outbreak.