Tabubil reports 5 cases and speeds up surveillance

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TABUBIL Hospital has dismissed Australian media reports that three people had died of cholera in the mining town of Tabubil in Western.
Hospital administrator Patricia Bayly said a news story on the disease by the Torres News was incorrect as the hospital had recorded five cholera cases to date with all patients treated and had returned home.
“Such an irresponsible media story could cause unnecessary anxiety and panic in the community especially one as small as Tabubil,” Bayly said.
She said since the first case of cholera a month ago, the hospital had put in place measures to contain the disease including a quarantined cholera treatment centre and extensive awareness at the mine, village communities, schools and churches.
Bayly added that airports were also being monitored with all incoming domestic passengers washing their hands with anti-bacterial hand gel before entering the terminal.
Meanwhile, a team of officers from the Ok Tedi Mining Ltd-funded North Fly Health Services Development Programme, Ok Tedi Fly River Development Programme (OTFRDP) and the PNG Defence Force has been deployed to assist cholera-affected communities.
The team left Kiunga on board the mv Sepura for a three-week operation in the Kiwaba and Manawete areas which are under OTML’s community mine continuation agreement.
Chief executive officer of OTFRDP Ian Middleton was hopeful that the patrol would identify the worst affected villages and verify the actual number of cases and deaths given that there was speculation that mortalities could have reached 200.
The patrol team will set up tents isolated from villages as cholera treatment posts, provide medical assistance to cholera patients and stage awareness to inform people about ways to avoid, as well as treat the disease.