The National – Thursday, December 30, 2010
MORE medical supplies have been flown into Western for cholera-affected communities.
A total of 374 boxes of intravenous (IV) fluids and syringes were airlifted by the PNG Defence Force’s (PNGDF) Casa to Daru Island yesterday on two separate flights.
The supplies were made available by the Health Department upon the assessment report by the cholera response committee on the ground in the province.
Western Governor Dr Bob Danaya, who was at the PNGDF’s air transport squadron base yesterday, said the IV fluids supply was most important as it helped to save lives.
Wearing his other hat as a medical doctor, he said that a patient who was severely dehydrated would use about 10 bottles in day.
“At the moment, I’m happy because people (with cholera-like symptoms) got the message quickly and are responding early for treatment,” Danaya told reporters at the airport.
“The important thing is the case reduction rate has been brought from 19% down to 9%, the only thing to do now is more awareness.”
The governor said that despite the positive response, it did not mean that there would not be future disease outbreaks in the province.
“We’ve got to prepare for the epidemic in case someone (infected person) makes another mistake and disposes his waste out in the open or in the river and cause another outbreak,” he added.
Danaya said the provincial government had spent K1 million as part of its response to addressing the epidemic that had hit the South Fly district.
He further clarified that the cost of transporting the supplies was met by the provincial government’s company Mineral Resources Ok Tedi Ltd No.2 (MROT), a subsidiary of the Mineral Resources Development Corporation Ltd at a cost of K300,000.
He said the mv Danaya would travel up the Fly River to provide medical services to affected villages.
Danaya said a total of 324 deaths had been reported with more than 3,000 suspected cases.