24 Jun 2004

Papua concerned about malaria spread

4:06 pm on 24 June 2004

Health officials in the Indonesian region of Papua are concerned about the increase of malaria and say urgent help is needed to prevent deaths from the disease.

An official at the provincial health office, Tigor Silaban, says malaria has become the number one killer in Papua.

This year, the office has recorded over 16,000 cases of malaria in the province and many more people are thought to be infected.

Last week, the Indonesian government declared a state of extraordinary emergency in the area.

No deaths from the disease have been officially recorded.

However, few people in the remote province have access to medical treatment and fatalities are known to be common.