By JEFFREY ELAPA
A REMANDEE at Beon jail in Madang province died of suspected diarrhoea yesterday.
The remandee from Bogia district, Madang province, had been charged with murder and was in jail for almost a year and a half.
Jail commander Joe Jako confirmed that the prisoner died in prison but denied the cause as being diarrhoea-related.
He said doctors from the Modilon General Hospital visited the prison and declared that the death was not related to cholera but was ordinary diarrhoea.
He said the prison and the prisoners were sprayed with detergents as a precautionary measure from cholera.
The relatives of the deceased are yet to be informed and a coroner’s report is being organised with the court and other parties involved in performing the post-mortem examination.
Coordinator of the cholera operation in Madang, Dr Sibauk Bieb, said a test done on the body had proven negative, but he could not comment until he received a report from his officers about what had caused the prisoner’s death.
He also said there were no signs of dehydration and, therefore, he could not conclude that the prisoner’s death was related to cholera.
In other developments, Gusap in the Ramu valley has recorded 30 new cases of cholera after a recent outbreak in the area.
Excluding the Gusap statistics, the Madang cholera treatment centre has recorded 608 cases since the outbreak in early September this year.
Dr Bieb said there were no deaths so far, but the task force team was monitoring the situation.
There were also reports that a few people in Bogia had also been diagnosed with cholera, while in the Saidor district, there were 30 reported cases but the epidemic was contained and there have been no further reported cases since then.
In other related news, the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) team has packed up and left, satisfied that the local task force team was able to manage the treatment centre.
Dr Bieb said the MSF people were also going into East Sepik province where there is currently a major outbreak in the province in which nine people had died.
Madang is believed to be the only province with an effective database at its cholera command centre.